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Wills

The new Wills, Estates and Succession Act (more commonly known as WESA) came into force on March 31, 2014Learn more here.

What is a Will?

A Will is a written legal document made during your lifetime which does not take effect until your death. It expresses or declares your intentions with respect to the distribution and management of your assets upon your death. You may change your Will or deal with your assets as you wish during your life time.

Cheryl Bennewith, Notary Public of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows suggests that you review your will every five years or as circumstances change in your life.

Why Should a Will be Made?

  • To appoint a designated person to act as Executor and Trustee of your Estate (Cheryl Bennewith, Notary Public does accept Executor appointments);
  • To appoint Guardians for your infant children;
  • To ensure that the people you want to share in your estate are named as beneficiaries;
  • To avoid complications and costs of an administration application.

Who Can Make a Will?

To make a Will, you must be mentally competent and be over 16 years of age.

Under the Wills, Estates and Succession Act, marriage will no longer revoke a Will.

What Happens if you Die Without a Will?

The Wills, Estates and Succession Act governs who will inherit your Estate and how it will be distributed – Learn more here.

Will Definitions

  • Beneficiary - A person named in a Will who will receive a portion of the Will Maker’s assets under the terms of the Will.
  • Bequest - A gift of personal property.
  • Estate - Everything you own at the date of your death including real property, personal property, and any benefits you may be entitled to at the time of your death.
  • Executor - The individual or individuals appointed in the Will to carry out the instructions and wishes contained in your Will.
  • Grant of Probate - A document granted by the Supreme Court confirming the appointment of an Executor named in a Will and confirming that the Will is valid.
  • Guardian - An individual who is appointed to look after your minor children.
  • Will Maker – The person who is making and signing the Will.

Powers of Attorney

Cheryl Bennewith, Notary Public of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows can assist you with all of your personal planning needs.

If you have a Will, do you need a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney and a Will are very different documents and serve different purposes.

A Power of Attorney is a legal document wherein you give someone (your Attorney) the power to act on your behalf while you are alive in the event you are unable to act for yourself. Powers of Attorney authorize the persons you have named to act on your behalf with respect to your financial and legal affairs. Powers of Attorney are only operative during your lifetime. On your death, the Power of Attorney is terminated. Your Will would then take effect and the Executor named in your Will would have the authority to act.

You should be aware that the Executor you appoint in your Will has no power to act for you while you are alive. If you are legally incapacitated, your Executor cannot help you. Only your Attorney appointed through a valid enduring Power of Attorney has the Power to act on your behalf while you are alive and unable to act for yourself.

A Power of Attorney is a very powerful document and should only be granted after very careful consideration to someone that you fully trust.

A Power of Attorney may be revoked at any time as long as “the Adult” has the mental capacity to do so. The revocation must be given in writing to your Attorneys and anyone who you or your Attorneys have given a copy of the Power of Attorney to (i.e. financial institutions).

The Powers of Attorney do not give your Attorneys the legal right to make medical decisions on your behalf.

Power of Attorney Definitions

  • Adult - The person who is making a Power of Attorney.
  • Attorney - The person appointed in a Power of Attorney to look after the affairs of the Adult.
  • Committee - The person appointed by way of a Court Order to look after the affairs of a person who has become incapacitated and there has been no Power of Attorney prepared and signed by the Adult.
  • Revocation - To cancel the existence of a Power of Attorney or a Will.

Helpful Links

Choosing an Executor

An Executor is an individual appointed in a Will to administer the Estate of the deceased. Your Executor should be someone you fully trust, that is responsible, professional, and has the time and energy required to fulfill your wishes as described in your Will.

There are many situations where a person may wish to choose a professional Executor. Death can be a very stressful event. Cheryl Bennewith, Notary Public does accept Executor appointments.

Cheryl is trained in Estate administration and has experience as an Executor. Cheryl is professional, detail oriented, and works in an efficient and timely manner. Cheryl will act in the best interest of your Estate.

Ask Cheryl Bennewith, Notary Public of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows for an estimate of her fees to act as your Executor. Cheryl will assist you in preparing the necessary documents in advance to assure your Estate is taken care of in a professional and caring manner.

Being an Executor

Role of an Executor

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