Making a Will in BC: Town Hall Edition

  • Recorded on: October 5, 2021
  • Length: 60 minutes


Are your questions about wills holding you back from making or updating yours? Lawyers Michael Scott and Brandi Stocks and notary public David Watts answer burning questions on the minds of many, including on choosing an executor, strategies for dealing with assets, providing for children, leaving money to charity, and more. This town hall supplements our earlier webinar on making a will.


In this webinar, you will learn:

  • At what age or life stage you should create your first will. [2:30]

  • What happens to your property if you’re married with no children and do not have a will. [4:30]

  • Whether you can use a self-help kit to make your will. [5:55]

  • Whether a will made without a lawyer or notary public is legitimate. [7:15]

  • What you can expect to pay to have your will and related documents prepared by a notary or lawyer. [7:50]

  • Factors to consider when choosing an executor and what kind of reimbursement might be involved for their efforts. [12:05]

  • Situations where you might consider retaining a professional executor. [13:25]

  • What it means to be an executor and what the role involves. [14:50]

  • Whether you can appoint an executor who lives in another part of Canada or in the US and whether it would be difficult for them to handle the estate. [16:10]

  • Whether it is necessary to include the designation of a beneficiary in a registered retirement plan in your will. [20:15]

  • Different options for leaving money to charity and the tax relief that might be available. [21:25]

  • Whether your parents or children will be liable for your debts when you die. [24:40]

  • Whether beneficiaries of your will who live in the US will be taxed on assets left for them in your will. [26:05]

  • Whether you need a separate will for another province if you own real property in that province. [29:05]

  • Whether you can name a guardian for your children who is not Canadian and/or lives in another province. [30:30]

  • How old children need to be to not need a trustee. [32:50]

  • Whether an older child (age 21) can be a trustee for a younger sibling (age 17), and factors to consider when appointing a trustee or guardian. [33:35]

  • Whether you can write your children out of your will. [35:45]

  • How children who contribute to your living expenses can be compensated for those amounts in your will. [39:10]

  • How often you should update your will. [41:45]

  • Whether you need to make a law firm or the Public Guardian & Trustee executors of your will if the named executors are no longer options. [43:40]

  • Whether you need to update your will when you move to British Columbia. [46:25]

  • Whether additions you make to a will without consulting a lawyer are legitimate. [48:00]

  • Whether you need to list every single one of your assets in your will. [50:10]

  • Whether your will needs to be registered. [52:00]

  • What’s involved in making plans for situations where you can’t make health care decisions. [53:35]

  • Whether your will can override a joint tenancy where you own your home in joint tenancy. [54:45]

Part of a trilogy on wills and planning for your future

This webinar is one of three we're offering this fall on putting your affairs in order.

  1. October 5, 2021 — Making a Will in BC: Town Hall Edition

  2. November 9, 2021 — Powers of Attorney

  3. November 23, 2021 — Representation Agreements


Michael Scott

Michael Scott is a lawyer at Clark Wilson LLP in Vancouver. He practices in estates and trusts and elder law. He is passionate about helping individuals work through their estate planning options by simplifying complex legal principles to ensure the decisions they make about wealth transfer, business succession, incapacity and disability are well-informed ones.

David Watts

David Watts is a notary public in Vancouver. In his notary practice, he helps clients prepare wills and personal planning documents, buy and sell real estate, and notarize documents. He has been a director of the Society of Notaries Public of BC since 2011. He is a past director of People’s Law School and continues to be a speaker on wills and other topics.

Brandi Stocks

Brandi Stocks is a lawyer with the Public Guardian and Trustee in the Child and Youth Services Division.

Attendee feedback

"The webinar was extremely informative and certainly a subject/duty that needs to be addressed. ... The information was presented in a very respectful way. Thank you."

"The speakers were very good about 'broadening' the question and giving useful advice about things to consider."

"I was visiting with my girlfriend and she was talking about updating her will. It got me thinking that I should do the same, but where do I start? This webinar answered a lot of questions for me." 

"Very well organized and presented. Moderator was excellent. So helpful."

“Peoples' Law School offers high quality multimedia resources, education and information on so many important topics. Thanks so much for the great work of your staff and organization.”

“Thank you so much for these sessions! Host and panelists, I appreciate your time and information. I'm often sharing with others what a wonderful resource People’s Law School is. What you do is so important.”

Additional resources 

Resources from People’s Law School: 

Earlier webinars from People’s Law School:

Public Guardian and Trustee

Clark Wilson’s blog

David Watts Notary Public blog

MyLawBC: A free tool to make a simple will, from Legal Aid BC

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