Wills & Personal Planning Resources

In honour of Make-A-Will Week, Courthouse Libraries BC has prepared a list of resources for various audiences.

If you are dealing with: making a will, probate, being an executor, creating a personal planning document like a representation agreement, start your research by accessing the resources below.

Do Your Research Online

Law Society Practice Checklists

  • Will Procedure (PDF | Doc)
  • Testator Interview (PDF | Doc)
  • Will Drafting (PDF | Doc)
  • Probate & Administration Interview (PDF | Doc)
  • Probate & Administration Procedure (PDF | Doc)

WESA

  • Our Guide to WESA
  • CLEBC WESA Resource Centre - Note that CLEBC's Wills Precedents and WESA Transition Guide are also available in print at some CLBC Locations. See below in "Print Resources".
  • Ministry of Justice Website - includes an explanation and Q&A section on WESA and the new Probate Rules.

Online Tools

CLE Document Builder - CLEBC provides a Document Builder which allows users to create downloadable wills templates with desired clauses. See Courthouse Libraries BC’s How-To Video. The Document Builder is available through Public Access Computers available at our branch locations. Alternatively, buy a subscription to the Wills Precedents - An Annotated Guide.

Due Diligence

Do Your Research at the Library

Guide to Wills & Estates
Gabrielle Komorowska
KN125.G841 - This guide is a practice manual containing instructions, precedents, tips, and detailed procedures. It is written and designed for readers of all levels of experience.

Wills Precedents: An Annotated Guide
Peter W. Bogardus, QC and Mary B. Hamilton
KN125.9.B63 - This publication is essential for all lawyers who draft wills in British Columbia. This collection of sample will clauses and documents includes BC-focused precedents. The annotations and commentary explain the use of optional clauses and the relevant law.

Wills, Estates and Succession Act Transition Guide
KN120.W55 C65 - The Wills, Estates and Succession Act and the new Probate Rules took effect on March 31, 2014. This WESA Transition Guide includes overviews of the WESA and the Probate Rules, detailed tables of concordance, annotations, and emerging transition issues.

British Columbia Probate and Estate Administration Practice Manual
KN127.B75 A2 - This is a practice-oriented guide for British Columbia legal professionals working in probate and estate administration. This manual provides steps on managing probate and estate matters, advice preparing and making applications, and handling difficult tax and conflict of laws issues.

A medical-legal approach to estate planning and decision making for older clients
KN122.M42L387 - This title of national and international papers features collaboration between the legal and healthcare professions. It includes lectures on: interviewing the older client and tips on consulting with medical practitioners. Online access is available at all CLBC Locations and lawyers can also access it in e-book format by logging in for remote desktop access..

The Executor's Handbook
KN143.G73 2015 - This practical resource is designed to assist the administrator, executor or liquidator of an estate in the administration process. It contains information that applies across provinces and territories. The latest edition includes coverage of new BC estate legislation.

Drafting Trusts and Will Trusts in Canada, 4th Edition
KN210.K47 2016 - The aim of this book by BC lawyer Fiona Hunter, and England-based barrister James Kessler, QC, is to aid the generalist lawyer by discussing general and technical issues which arise in the drafting of trusts and wills trusts, and to provide precedents. The authors have endeavored to state the law as of April 2016. Drafters should take care to seek tax advice in light of a series of new tax rules affecting trusts (discussed in Chapter 4). Note that BC is considering adoption of provisions of the Uniform Trustee Act—be alert to changes in the Trustee Act.

Macdonell, Sheard and Hull on Probate Practice, Fifth Edition
KN127.M32 2016 - A practical guide to estate administration in Ontario with detailed reference to all of the other Canadian jurisdictions, including BC. It provides in-depth analysis of all of the legal issues which can arise, both in contentious and non-contentious matters. This resource covers all areas of estates law from basic to sophisticated  practice problems. It also provides academic analysis to legal issues in this area of law. Practical precedents are also included.

Annotated Estates Practice 2016
KN120.A56 - Key statutes have been annotated by estates lawyers with succinct summaries of relevant decisions in everyday language. This is the 12th edition, and features the annotated WESA and Probate Rules, and dozens of new annotations for caselaw from the last 12 months until April 2016.

BC Estate Planning & Wealth Preservation
KN122.B74 - By leading estate and tax practitioners, this multidisciplinary title will help you determine a sensible approach for each client's needs, and to create trusts and other tools to minimize taxes and preserve wealth. Current to February 1, 2016.

Do Your Research Online

Clicklaw: Common Questions

Wills, Estates and Succession Act

Online Tools

CLE Document Builder (advanced users) - The Continuing Legal Education Society of BC provides a Document Builder which allows users to create downloadable wills templates with desired clauses. See Courthouse Libraries BC’s How-To Video. The Builder can be accessed through Public Access Computers available at our branches.

Additional Resources

  • Law Society PLTC Practice Material: Wills - The Law Society’s bar admission course materials are available publicly with the proviso that readers must exercise their own judgment. Topics include: Preparing a Will and Wills Variation.

Do Your Research at the Library

Courthouse Library Print Resources

Guide to Wills & Estates
Gabrielle Komorowska
KN125.G841 - This guide is a practice manual for lawyers containing instructions, precedents, tips, and detailed procedures. However, it is written and designed for readers of all levels of experience.

Guide to Wills & Estates
Gabrielle Komorowska
KN125.G841 - This guide is a practice manual for lawyers containing instructions, precedents, tips, and detailed procedures. However, it is written and designed for readers of all levels of experience.

Wills Precedents: An Annotated Guide
Peter W. Bogardus, QC and Mary B. Hamilton
KN125.9.B63 - This collection of sample will clauses and documents includes BC-focused precedents. The annotations and commentary explain the use of optional clauses and the relevant law.

Wills, Estates and Succession Act Transition Guide
KN120.W55 C65 - The Wills, Estates and Succession Act and the new Probate Rules took effect on March 31, 2014. This WESA Transition Guide includes overviews of the WESA and the Probate Rules, detailed tables of concordance, annotations, and emerging transition issues.

British Columbia Probate and Estate Administration Practice Manual
KN127.B75 A2 - This is a practice-oriented guide for British Columbia legal professionals. This manual provides steps on managing probate and estate matters, advice preparing and making applications, and handling difficult tax and conflict of laws issues.

Public Library Print Resources

General non-BC-specific backgrounders on wills:

The Canadian Guide to Will and Estate Planning: Everything you Need to Know Today to Protect your Wealth and your Family Tomorrow, 4th Edition
by Douglas Gray and John Budd (2017)

Complete Canadian Wills Kit (CD)
by Alison Sawyer (2015)

Do Your Research Online

Clicklaw: Common Questions
Other Resources

Do Your Research at the Library

Guide to Wills & Estates
Gabrielle Komorowska
KN125.G841 - This guide contains instructions, practical examples, tips, and detailed procedures. It is written and designed for readers of all levels of experience.

Wills Precedents: An Annotated Guide
Peter W. Bogardus, QC and Mary B. Hamilton
KN125.9.B63 - This collection of sample will clauses and documents includes BC-focused forms. The notes and commentary explain the use of optional clauses and the relevant law.

Access Pro Bono Wills Clinics - Vancouver - Free legal help with simple wills and representation agreements for low-income seniors (55+) and people with terminal illnesses. 604.424.9600 or willsclinic@accessprobono.ca

Access Pro Bono Roster Wills Program - Free help on non-lawsuit-related wills & estates matters for qualifying persons outside of the lower mainland. Contact Roster Coordinator Michelle Quigg: mquigg@accessprobono.ca

LSLAP Clinics - UBC’s Law Students Legal Advice Program helps low-income earners draft wills (requirements: no real estate, and estates/assets must be under $25,000) and other personal planning documents. 604.822.5791

UBC Indigenous Community Legal Clinic - Specific areas of assistance: Will Creation, Will Search, Letters of Administration, Powers of Attorney, and Representation Agreements. Requirements: live in the Lower Mainland, low income - little to no assets, no age limitation, must self-identify as Indigenous. Eligibility is determined case by case. 604-684-7334 or 1-888-684-7874 or iclc@allard.ubc.ca

Rise Women's Legal Centre - legal assistance with simple wills, powers of attorney and representation agreements for low-income, self-identifying women. No age restriction. Additional qualifications apply - limited capacity - please contact for availability: info@womenslegalcentre.ca

Seniors First BC Legal Clinics - assists seniors (55+), who are unable to access legal help due to low-income or other barriers, with drafting wills and personal planning documents, including powers of attorney and representation agreements. Contact 604-336-5653.

Representation Agreement Forms - For those who want to get all their affairs in order, Nidus Personal Planning Resource Centre provides information on personal planning through their website and free DIY forms for Representation Agreements, with detailed guides. They also provide free monthly personal planning webinars as well as 20 minute appointments for personal help for a nominal fee.

MyLawBC - Can help you make a simple will that reflects your wishes and fits your situation. As you work with the site it will explain the decisions you’ll need to make when writing a will and at the end of the process will provide you with a simple form to fill out to create your will. Can also teach you about the personal planning documents you need to plan for future decision making about financial, legal, and health and personal care matters.

Lawyer Referral Service - Operated by the Canadian Bar Association BC Branch, the Lawyer Referral Service gives you a consultation with a lawyer for up to 30 minutes for a fee of $25 plus tax. Call 604.687.3221 or 1.800.663.1919, Mon - Fri, 8:30am to 4:30pm.

Find a Notary - Search for a notary public online or call 604.681.4516 or 1.800.663.0343

See Clicklaw HelpMap for more Wills and Estates help services. You can narrow down results by choosing multiple topics (e.g. Aboriginal law) and/or locations (e.g. Aboriginal law AND Quesnel) The HelpMap is updated with new and existing services every month.

Wills Registry - Vital Statistics Agency - Register or Search for a Wills Notice

Nidus Personal Planning Registry - Users can securely file digital copies of their legal documents, including wills, powers of attorney, representation agreements

Various Dates & Recorded Webinars

CLE BC - Wills, Estates and Trusts Courses - Continuing professional education for BC lawyers and their support staff (for CPD).

Nidus Presentations and Webinars - Free monthly webinars for the public and professionals on Representation Agreements and other planning documents you can make and register to prepare for incapacity, end-of-life and other support needs.

Mediate BC - What Do Mediators Need to Know About Wills, Estates and Succession Act (WESA)? - Recorded webinar - Learn five ways that WESA changes the law of succession in BC. Promo code for roster mediators. Earn 1.5 hours towards Mediate BC's ongoing training requirements.

The PDFs do not contain all the links available on this page. Instead, they are meant to give a summary overview of what is linked here. 

For Lawyers and Legal Professionals

For Public Librarians and Community Helpers

For the Public (everyone)

Feel free to print and distribute the PDF handouts, but please highlight the bit.ly URL that directs back to this page:

http://bit.ly/clbcwills

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Page last updated January 10, 2018