DeDominicis: Legal importance of having a will

By not having a will, you effectively lose control over who gets your estate, how much and when.

Everyone should have a legal will.

A will becomes even more important where you have assets (i.e. own a home, have businesses etc.), have a spouse and/or children.

By not having a will, you effectively lose control over who gets your estate, how much and when.

You also give up the right to appoint an executor of your choice to administer your estate as you direct in your will.

You also give up the right to appoint a guardian of your choice for any minor children you may have. If you have those rights, why not choose? A will is the only way to ensure your wishes get carried out your way.

If you die without a will, your assets are held by the government and will likely be distributed in a manner contrary to your wishes.

Unfortunately, people continue to die without a will.

The biggest change to intestacy rules under the Wills Estates Succession Act (“WESA”) legislation affects spouses.

Under the old legislation (pre-March 2014), spouses received $65,000 and a life estate in the home.

Under WESA, the intestacy distribution is as follows:

• If there is a spouse and no children, all to the spouse

• If there is a spouse and children, then the spouse receives the first $300,000 of the estate, and the children receive the remainder, BUT if there are children from a prior relationship, the spouse only receives $150,000

• If there is no spouse, all to the children. If a child pre-deceases the deceased, then to his/her children in equal shares (being the deceased’s grandchildren)

• If there is no spouse and no children, then the estate would go to the deceased’s parents

• If there are no parents, than to the deceased’s siblings in equal shares

• If there are no siblings, then to the deceased’s grandparents

• If there are no grandparents, then to the deceased’s aunts and uncles in equal shares.

Further, the spousal life interest in the matrimonial home is abolished under WESA.

Instead, the spouse will have the right to purchase the matrimonial home or elect that it be considered part of his or her share of the estate.

The spouse must elect this option within 180 days from the grant of letters of administration.

It is always important to have an up to date will that reflects your current circumstances and wishes.

You are not doing so for your benefit, you are doing so for the benefit of the loved ones you leave behind.

Executing an up to date Will that reflects your current wishes will not only provide you with peace of mind, but it will minimize the costs of probating and administering your estate, which in turn will maximize the inheritance your beneficiaries will receive.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tap Truck Okanagan launches as first location in Canada

The business is built on a restored 1957 Chevy panel van and ready to serve craft beer on tap, wine or cider

Police watchdog investigating Lake Country incident

A man was taken to hospital after the June 3 incident

Community backlash over Black Lives Matter rally in Kelowna

Some members of Kelowna’s black community stated they don’t support Friday’s rally

$30,000 over 30 weeks for local causes

Send us your good stories and you could win money for your favourite cause

Trudeau offers $14B to provinces for anti-COVID-19 efforts through rest of year

Making a difference in municipalities is a pricey proposition

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

‘Alarmed’: Health critic calls for more data on COVID-19 in trucking industry

Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec said that level of detail is not being collected

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Crews building structure at former Summerland train station site

West Summerland Station will pay tribute to railway history, serve as trail marker

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

Vernon protesters take Black Lives Matter movement to park

A handful of demonstrators raised fists, signs in solidarity Friday

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Most Read