“…54% of Canadians do not have a Will”*
Unfortunately, a great many people either neglect to make a will during their lifetime* or fail to keep their Will up-to-date with their current circumstances.
If they die without a Will the legal term is that they are intestate at the time of their death.
This may also arise if there are deficiencies or errors in the manner in which a Will is drawn up.
It should be noted that the provisions of laws governing Estates and inheritance vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Each province in Canada has it’s own laws covering these matters and there may be substantial differences in the provisions in force in each province. Further estate and inheritance law is constantly evolving. If you have recently come to B.C from another province or jurisdiction, if you personal circumstances have changed with the birth of a child, marriage, divorce or any other substantial change you should have your existing will reviewed. As well, it pays to periodically have your solicitor look over an existing will to ensure the provisions still meet your needs.
The Estate Administration Act of British Columbia prescribes the manner in which a deceased person’s estate must be administered in the event they die without a will.
Contrary to popular belief, if one dies without a will, the deceased’s Estate does not simply become the property of the government.
In fact, under Estate Administration Act, the Court will approve and appoint an Administrator for the Estate.
Because the Act sets up a “one size fits all” beneficiary selection process, it should be noted, it rarely reflects the wishes of the deceased person with regard to the disposition of assets and personal possessions. This can cause a great number of problems for beneficiaries.
This can be avoided very simply by having a carefully considered and valid Will so that your assets will be delivered to the beneficiaries in accordance with your wishes.
* January 16, 2010, National Post: “When RBC did an independant survey… it found that 54% of Canadians did not have a Will.”