THE SOCIETY OF NOTARIES PUBLIC OF BC WELCOMES CONSISTENCY AND CLARITY OF THE NEW WILLS, ESTATES AND SUCCESSION ACT
For Immediate Release: April 2, 2013
Vancouver, BC – John Eastwood, President of The Society of Notaries Public of BC, said today that The Society welcomes the new Government of BC legislation regarding the Wills, Estates and Succession Act. The Act will provide greater certainty for individuals who put their last wishes into writing and it will simplify the work of the executors of the estate.
The Ministry of Justice has announced that this Act and new Probate Rules will be effective March 31, 2014. They represent the most extensive changes to this area of law in 85 years.
“We are delighted with this new legislation,” said Mr. Eastwood. “BC Notaries have advocated for and supported efforts for clearer and more consistent processes for Wills and Estate Planning and for the trustees responsible for distributing an estate.”
The Ministry of Justice has indicated that the new Act includes the following benefits.
- It clarifies the process of inheritance when a person dies without leaving a Will.
- It makes the process easier for a person to transfer the title of his or her spousal home when the spouse dies.
- It clearly outlines the sequence of heirs to a person’s estate.
- It provides the courts with more latitude to ensure a deceased person’s last wishes are respected.
- It clarifies obligations relating to property inheritance in the context of Nisga’a and Treaty First Nation lands.
- It lowers the minimum age that a person can make a Will, from 19 to 16 years.
Notaries throughout BC help their clients prepare, review, and update legal Wills. They also provide legal counsel to designated trustees who are responsible for implementing a deceased person’s Will. Notaries have extensive training in this field and can help British Columbians determine whether or not this new legislation impacts their own planning.
The Society of Notaries Public of BC represents more than 320 highly trained Notary professionals. Most have locally owned and operated offices and all provide personal assistance to clients around the province. Individuals, families, and businesses seek the services of BC Notaries for a wide range of noncontentious legal matters including residential and commercial real estate transfers, mortgage refinancing, Wills and advanced health care planning, powers of attorney, and other important documents.
The Notary’s Tradition of Trust spans 2000 years. Notaries first came to British Columbia over 100 years ago. They continue to serve their valued clients and their communities across the province.