In broad strokes, estate planning is making plans for the transfer of your estate after death, part of which often involves writing a Will.

A Will is the legal document that takes effect upon your death and it describes how you wish those assets flowing through your Will are to be distributed, and it appoints an executor to manage this process. Not all assets may flow through your Will.

Estate planning covers assets that flow through your Will and those assets that are distributed outside of your Will.


1. Taxes

One of the most important parts of estate planning is determining what, if anything, you can do to reduce the taxes that will be due on your estate. With some forethought, and planning ahead, there are some things you can do to reduce these taxes. A trained professional like a Notary Public can help you with this.

2. Powers of Attorney and Representation Agreements

Another issue in estate planning is making decisions about what you want done in the event that you become sick or injured and incapable of managing your own affairs before death. You may want to give one or more individuals power-of- attorney, for example, to be able to act on your behalf in financial matters. A representation agreement appoints who you want to make medical decisions for you.

3. Gifts

Another possibility in estate planning is determining what, if any, gifts you want to make to charity. You may just want to leave some money to a charity or you may want something more complex like setting up a scholarship.

4. Assets that may flow outside your Will

Assets that are jointly held with the right of survivorship do not flow through your Will. Registered accounts that have a designated beneficiary do not flow through your Will. Other types of assets may not flow through your Will.


Writing the Will is the preparation of the legal Will document. It’s a good idea to consult with a professional like a Notary Public to make sure your Will is done correctly and is legal.

Some provinces in Canada, like Alberta, allow you to write a Will yourself in your own handwriting. This is called a holographic Will. Holographic Wills may be accepted in British Columbia in very limited circumstances.

A valid, legal Will in British Columbia will designate an Executor, who will make sure your Will is executed as it is written and your wishes are followed. Choosing the Executor will be part of the estate planning process.


A Will is an important document, and it’s really important that the Will is prepared appropriately and legally based on the law in British Columbia if you are a resident here.

This article only briefly touches on some of the considerations regarding estate planning and wills. In a consultation with professionals like us, we would go into greater detail. We strongly recommend that you consult a professional for estate planning and the preparation of your Will.

We have been helping clients with Wills and estate planning for over 30 years. Please contact us if you need some help with your Will or your estate planning.

Based in White Rock, BC, Goddyn Notary Legal Services works with individuals, businesses and families to navigate notarial and legal matters since 1984. If you have any questions about this article or would like to make an appointment with us, please call (604) 531-2611 or email us at

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