Do I need a lawyer or notary public to make my will?

I want to prepare a will, but I just can’t afford professional help. Can I make a will myself using a self-help kit?

Mary

Mary

Vancouver, BC

The law doesn’t require you to use a lawyer or notary public to make your will. With good do-it-yourself materials, it’s open to you to write a simple will on your own. The will can take care of basic concerns, such as leaving a home, investments, and personal items to loved ones. This guided pathway from Legal Aid BC is a better option for preparing a simple will in BC than many of the other self-help kits available.

Having your will prepared by an experienced lawyer is the safest way to avoid mistakes. For a simple will, an experienced notary is also a good option. Knowing your will is properly drafted can give you peace of mind. You can be confident your affairs will be handled according to your wishes. As is highlighted here, you won't be around to fix things if there's a problem.

Getting advice from a lawyer is particularly important when there are features such as a blended family, a charitable gift, property outside of British Columbia, a family business, a desire or need to hold property in trust for someone (such as a minor), or a wish to leave certain people out of your will. An estates lawyer should also be able to help you with estate planning. This includes considering how taxes will apply, depending on how you hold and gift your property. 

As well as helping you navigate the technicalities of drafting a will, sitting down with a legal professional can help you organize your thoughts. Lawyers and notaries working in this area can help you identify key issues you may have otherwise missed. 

Getting professional help to make a will may not be as expensive as you think. Here, you can get an idea of the costs involved. (Generally, the more basic the will, the lower the legal fees.) 

To explore your options, do a search for lawyers or notaries in your area. You can call to request a quote. And shop around for the best rates.

Kevin Smith

Kevin Smith

Retired lawyer and consultant
  • This information applies to British Columbia, Canada
  • Reviewed for legal accuracy in March 2022

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