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Discussion Starter #1
It is now clear beyond peradventure that a pox has been visited upon our house, in the form of COVID-19.

It is also a seemingly unassailable proposition that the dreaded virus really has us angry old white men clearly in its sights. Like so many, COVID-19 dislikes boomers, so the CMF herd is likely to take a good thinning in the coming weeks. With my best before date in the view astern, I am a likely candidate for the cull. My wife has already received my instruction not to clutter things up with my miserable remains, but to simply roll me in the ocean in front of the house and let the crabs, prawns and other denizens of the deep have a bit of a party, while hoping they don't get a fatal dose of covid as a result. I suspect they are immune. They have a vaccine for that. If she shies away from that, fearing part of me will return in her crab or prawn traps, or in the next lingcod she catches, then I suggested my burial in the orchard as an alternative. Perhaps along the fence where grapes grow, so perhaps they will become grapes of wrath.

The topic of wills, the necessity of having one and such has come up on this forum from time to time, even in my short life here. The case below landed on my desk not so long ago and I think it now a timeous reminder of the lamentable state of affairs that may obtain should one go not so gently into that good night without first having one's estate planning house in order.

Knelsen Estate, 2020 BCSC 134

https://www.bccourts.ca/jdb-txt/sc/20/01/2020BCSC0134.htm#_Toc31704312

The judgment runs to 36 pages of light reading (with some depressing aspects perhaps).
 

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Can you give us the Cliff Notes? Nothing would please me better than to leave an estate my relatives could fight over for the next 30 years and end up with nothing.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
No Cliff Notes. Will Coles notes be ok?

Here goes.

K. lives with W. for 12 years. They have 2 kids. W. takes up with the kids' baseball coach in summer 2018. K. and W. separate. But they have separated and reconciled before. K. gets depressed and kills himself in August 2018. He leaves no will. His mummy, qua grandparent to the kids, asks the court to find that he died intestate with no spouse, so his estate (mainly a house in Summerland) should devolve to his 2 kids.

W. tells mummy to butt out. Screwing around or not, she says she was K.'s spouse under s. 2 of the*Wills, Estates and Succession Act and is thus entitled under the Act to the first $300,000 of estate value (the estate value is under $300k). The court agrees, being unable to find that either party had a settled intention to separate, however bad things might have been and however much W. was enjoying her trysts with T. Well, the latter is my embellishment. The court does not speak of trysts. Not pc to do so.
 

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It is time for all of you who have partners and/or children especially to get your shite together and get a Will if you don't have one. COVID-19 isn't going to empathize with you and spare your life.
 

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And don’t cheap out. Spend some of your readies on seeking out professional guidance from a lawyer who includes wills & estates as one of his or her areas of specialty. Do it for your loved ones. They will thank you for it....as I thanked both of my parents.
 

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Law offices are liklely closing. Even if you get an appointment to get the ball rolling, it can take a long time before a will is ready for signing. My dear late uncle waited 4 months from appt. to signing.
 

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You may not be able to complete the will however a fair amount of the groundwork can be done. Both time we have completed our will as much time was spent collecting data, emailing back and forth with the law firm in order to be prepared for the final two in person meetings.

Don’t make excuses......start the process.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Law offices are liklely closing. Even if you get an appointment to get the ball rolling, it can take a long time before a will is ready for signing. My dear late uncle waited 4 months from appt. to signing.
You might be right about closures. I expect work to slow down for a lot of firms as the economy grinds to a halt. But law firm overhead will continue. When I had an office in downtown Vancouver, we usually allowed for overhead running at 60% of gross. So some wills work might be welcome. It can be done at home on a laptop.

Just this week I have received 2 requests for wills and I am no longer in practice. I do the odd one pro bono for friends. Working on one today, in fact. But I no longer take on any will/estate work that requires delving into the niceties of complex corporate structures, complex trust arrangements, tax planning, etc. I prefer to tell those with such requests to retain a lawyer who does that stuff every day. For the most part, those with complex estates have income and assets and do not need pro bono assistance.
 

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... what about your car or the hockey cards collection, or anything of sentimental value?
Why does it not surprise me that Sags doesn't have a Will. What an attitude! He should care how his assets are distributed, but then again, maybe he does not care about anyone else.....
 

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Why does it not surprise me that Sags doesn't have a Will. What an attitude! He should care how his assets are distributed, but then again, maybe he does not care about anyone else.....
Just like with everyday life, they want a government body to make all their decisions.
 

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Sorry, but the process is about far more than that. Things such as medical directives, POA’s, asset listing, reviewing assets in terms of tax avoidance, minimizing probate fees, etc.

Apart from all of that there is always the thought of arranging your affairs and your will such that your loved ones do not have the potentially onerous and expensive task of working through the process.
 

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Law offices are liklely closing. Even if you get an appointment to get the ball rolling, it can take a long time before a will is ready for signing. My dear late uncle waited 4 months from appt. to signing.
given current circumstances, for those that DON'T have wills and are concerned about it now, could anyone give some suggestions/ guidance where/how to start at least putting together a simple hand-written will?
I know its not preferable but at least its something. any advice?
 

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Get a kit from Staples. We got one prior to even engaging a lawyer. We wanted to understand the process and what would be required from us in the planning stages.

As an aside, I did probate in B.C. for my father’s estate by purchasing and reading through the probate kit three or four times. I found those kits to be very helpful.
 

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Some people do not see any need for a will when they have nothing significant that they would want to detail in a will. For example, sags may feel that as he is married and everything will automatically go to his wife, what's to detail? However, what sags might want to look into is just how easy or difficult it is for his wife to deal with everything should he die, if he dies intestate.' A will might not need to divide a lot of assets up between multiple people to be worth doing.

So while sags may not SEE any need for a will, there may be something he isn't SEEING. Hint.

I found it interesting when living in Scotland, that many lawyers there (listen up mukhang pera) do wills for FREE. Not complicated wills obviously but a will that would perhaps suit sags simple needs. They do this as a way of attracting customers who may have some future need of a lawyer and so will perhaps have some loyalty towards the lawyer who did their will for free.

One of the biggest moneymakers for your average everyday barely competent lawyer is handling home sales. Unlike here, the amount of money made by a lawyer and a real estate agent in each transaction goes mostly to the lawyer, not the real estate agent. So they do your will for free and hope you will reward them by letting them handle your house sale/purchase.
 

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We just poor folks who don't know nothing about wills and such. We just trying to get by day to day.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Some good points LTA.

Each province has legislation setting out how an estate will be divided where there is no will. As seen in the case I cited in my first post to this thread, it discusses how a spouse is entitled to a preferential share of the first $300,000 of estate value. The spouse will not get the whole pie if the estate is worth over $300k and if there are other claimants, such as kids. Of course, if there are few assets and they are placed in joint tenancy before death, then there is probably no need for a will or probate. But, if there are other assets and no will, not only is one stuck with the distribution prescribed by the legislation [WESA in BC], one must also go through the tedious and somewhat expensive process of applying for Letters of Administration because there can be no probate where there is no will.

On the topic of doing wills gratis, it was (maybe still is) common in BC to do likewise. It was not so much to attract customers but as a way of ensuring (to some extent) future work from existing clients. The idea was to not charge for the will, but to have it executed and held in the firm's vault, with a "Wills Notice" filed in Victoria. The expectation was that, upon the client's eventual demise, the estate executor would most likely retain the firm that drew the will to apply for probate and to act as solicitors for the estate, to the extent that might be necessary. So each of those "free" wills held in the vault represented some reasonable assurance of work that would generate fees beyond what might be earned from drawing the will. The free wills were an investment in the firm's future.
 
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