My neighbour is trying to put together a simple Will for himself. I know sometimes a lawyer is necessary, but are there any starter resources out there that might do the trick?

Thanks for your question about wills. We get them on a regular basis in context of our Legal Information & Aid program.

You are right to say that depending on a person’s situation, paying for lawyer, if possible, may be beneficial for getting it right. That said, we understand that this may not always be possible. Fortunately, there are many resources aimed at individuals with different financial situations and abilities that can help, can sometimes prepare the will for you, and are free.

WHERE DO I FIND FREE RESOURCES FOR CREATING A WILL?

A website with basic instructions on how to make a simple will are available through the People’s Law School. Their website is: peopleslawschool.ca/preparing-will/

Nidus Personal Planning Resource Centre and Registry is also a useful resource to do with Wills, as they deal with questions for seniors about personal planning. Their website is www.nidus.ca or email them at info@nidus.ca

A service called Access Pro Bono offers a free Wills Clinic for those over 55 with a low or modest income, or for people with a terminal illness. During the clinic, volunteer lawyers can advise people on their personal estate matters. According to the website, “volunteer lawyers then draft and help to execute Wills, Representation Agreements and enduring Powers of Attorney where needed.” For more information, leave a voicemail at 604-424-9600, with your contact information and basic information regarding your legal needs, or visit the website : https://www.accessprobono.ca/our-programs/wills-clinic.

Another online will resource is through a website called “My Law BC.” It says that using its resource takes about 25 minutes to complete. Their website will have more details on who this service can help: https://mylawbc.com/paths/wills/

IS THERE A WAY TO LET THE GOVERNMENT KNOW I HAVE A WILL?

When making a Will, you can choose to register your will with the provincial government’s wills registry. It lets others know where the original copy of your will is kept. To do this, you need to file a wills notice with the wills registry, which involves filling out a form that says you have prepared a will and indicates where it is kept. The cost is $17.00 per wills notice. The link for that can be found here: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/life-events/death/wills-registry

If the online aspect of any of the resources I’ve mentioned becomes a limiting factor, let us know and we can find some work-arounds together. If your neighbour is still looking for more information, have them give us a call to schedule an in-person or phone appointment with us at 604-885-4088.

Angie Theilmann is an information and referral specialist at the Sunshine Coast Resource Centre, your community information hub. Do you have a question? Just Ask Angie! Email: angie@resourcecentre.ca