Making a Will in BC

  • Recorded on: October 8, 2020

  • Length: 60 minutes


Lawyers Michael Scott and Brandi Stocks and notary public David Watts answer common questions about making a will, including questions about how to choose an executor, provide for your children, prepare the will, and more. 


Viewing this webinar you will learn:

  • How preparing a will is part of estate planning, and how a power of attorney and representation agreement fit into your planning. [4:10]

  • What a will typically covers, common reasons for creating or updating a will, and what to do if you don’t have one. [5:35]

  • The role of the Public Guardian and Trustee, including how they may become involved in administering an estate involving minor children or incapable adults, and how with advanced planning you can increase certainty and reduce the risk of costly procedures to ensure your dependents are adequately provided for after your death. [9:50]

  • The factors to consider when choosing an executor, including whether to choose a family member, friend or professional (such as a trust company), which other roles the executor may have (for example: beneficiary), how the executor will be compensated, and whether there are tax or other consequences in choosing a non-Canadian resident as your executor. [16:00]

  • What the law provides generally about how you treat your children under your will, and factors that would support unequal treatment in the will — such as gifts made outside of the will, or the circumstances of one child relative to others, like disability or financial hardship. [26:00]

  • Options outside of your will for leaving assets for your children. [28:10]

  • The importance of advanced planning to create your desired outcome and avoid additional administration costs after your death, particularly where there are vulnerable parties, like minor children, involved. [32:00]

  • The formal requirements for making a will, the impact of COVID-19 on witnessing will documents, and factors to consider when choosing a lawyer or a notary. [34:20]

  • What is meant by a living will and why you might use a representation agreement instead. [39:40]

  • Whether you need separate wills when you own property in Canada and in another country. [40:45]

  • Factors to consider in deciding whether to use a make-a-will kit. [45:55]

  • Whether you can name multiple people as caretakers for your children. [52:40]

  • Steps to take to leave a legacy, like a university scholarship in your name. [53:50]

  • How much it might cost to prepare a will. [54:40]


Michael Scott

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

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

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

Attendee feedback

"Excellent presentation, the panelists explained in ways we can understand, and gave some examples in scenarios. Thank you."

"Enjoyed hearing from various experts and their perspectives. Thank you!"

"Was very informative and presented very well. Thanks to all the panelists."

"Mix of structure and Q and A was great, and combining similar answers was helpful."

"Thank you — good info and well organized and presented as always."

Additional resources 

Resources from People’s Law School: 

From the Public Guardian and Trustee:

Clark Wilson’s blog

David Watts Notary Public blog

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