Wills (and E-Wills)
Legally reviewed. Last update made in June 2023.
Is a will a legal document in BC?
Yes, a will is a legal document in British Columbia (see the BC Wills, Estates and Succession Act).
What is a will for?
A will is a legal document you can make to say what you want to do with what you own (your estate*) after you die.
You can also name someone called an executor, to settle your estate after you die.
Who can make a will in BC?
A person who is 16 years of age or older and who is “mentally capable” of doing so may make a will. This means you must understand the nature and effect of making a Will; have a sense of what you own and who may expect to inherit (such as a spouse and children), and be free of mental delusions. This is a legal test, not a medical one.
When can a will be used?
A Will is an estate planning document — this means it is intended to be used after you die; it has no effect while you are alive.
If you do not make a will, the default rules in the law will say what happens to your property – see Dying Without a Will (Intestacy).
What are electronic wills (E-Wills)?
An electronic will or e-will, means a will that is in an electronic format – for example, a PDF file on a computer.
E-wills are signed by the will-maker and their witnesses digitally, and stored digitally (there does not have to be a paper copy).
There can be multiple “originals” of an e-will as long as they are unaltered, so it would make sense to save copies on multiple devices and online locations to make it easier for the executor to locate an original for probate.
The will-maker and their witnesses could be in the same room while making an e-will, or could be in different locations but using an audio-video-conferencing service to fit the requirements under the law.
Free/Low-Cost Wills and Lawyer Referrals
- Lawyer Referral Service – 15 minutes of free consultation with a lawyer
- Access Pro Bono Wills Clinic – for low/modest income people 55+, and people with a terminal illness
- Everyone Legal Clinic – fixed-fee services, provided locally and virtually
- UBC LSLAP Clinic – for low-income earners who live the lower Mainland of BC
- Seniors First Elder Law Clinic – for older adults (55+) residing in BC, with income eligibility criteria
Securely register a copy of your Will or E-Will with the Nidus Registry, a BC-based centralized digital repository with 24/7 access. Ensure you are prepared for a health crisis or other emergency.
FAQs coming soon
How can you help yourself and Nidus?
Nidus does not receive funding for core education and assistance activities. This includes answering questions we receive by email. Please help us continue to be a leading resource:
- We need to regularly review and sometimes revise our materials and the website.
- There is currently no organization like Nidus in any other province or country.
You can help by making a donation to Nidus. You can donate online or mail a cheque — make an annual donation or become a sustaining donor. You can also help by promoting the Registry service. The Registry pays for itself and any surplus goes to supporting the charitable education programs of the Nidus Resource Centre.
For After Death
Settling an Estate (Probate)
Dying Without a Will (Intestacy)
Disability Trusts (Testamentary)
Estate Planning FAQs
Use & Tips
Wills Made Outside of BC
Information for First Nations Persons On-Reserve (PDF)
Wills, Estates and Succession Act (BC)
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