Make-A-Will Week 2022 

This week (October 2-8) is Make-a-Will Week in British Columbia. The provincial government designates the week to encourage everyone to write their will or update an existing one. 

Why do I need a will? Why should I make one? 

A will is a document that leaves instructions about what you want done with everything you own after your death. Everything you own at your death is called the estate. The will appoints the executor, who is responsible for carrying out the instructions in the will. A legal procedure that confirms the will can be acted on and authorizes the executor to act is called probate. Because a will is a legal document, you need to understand property ownership rules and which laws apply. 

I want to make a will. What should I do? 

You could start with reading any of the free resources available for British Columbians. Go to Clicklaw website for a complete list of resources and services prepared for various audiences. On this page, you can find resources to People’s Law School on preparing wills, choosing executors, and probating wills. Also available are online tools designed to help the general public to make a will and find help if needed. 

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What’s new? 

Remote witnessing of will signing has been a permanent part of BC law since 2020.  

It is now even easier to make a will with Electronic Wills: 

“Since December 1, 2021, electronic wills have the same recognition as physical wills. Wills are now able to be signed and stored electronically. As an added benefit, all unaltered electronic copies of an electronic will are considered an “original” for the purpose of submitting to the court, so you can save copies on multiple devices and/or online locations to make it easier for your executor to locate an original.”

Make a Will week, Province of British Columbia. 

What events are available? 

Below are non-profit organizations holding free or low-cost events to help you understand various topics around wills and personal planning. 

People’s Law School 

Plan Institute 

  • Plan Institute works to improve the lives of people with disabilities by collaborating on community-based projects, offering a suite of learning initiatives, and advocating for policy reform. 
  • Wills, Trusts, and Estate Planning workshops are available throughout the year for $25 per person. 

Seniors First BC 

  • Seniors First BC works to protect the legal rights of older adults, increase access to justice, inform the public about elder abuse and provide supportive programs for those older adults who have been abused.  
  • They will host an Advanced Planning Webinar on October 4, 2022 at 1pm.  

Also available is CLBC’s Wills & Personal Planning Resources page which provides information primarily directed at the legal community.  

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Community Forum Series Final Report, by the LawMatters program, Courthouse Libraries BC

Community Forum Series Final Report

By LawMatters, Courthouse Libraries BC

Background and Webinar

In 2021 the Community Forum series was hosted in partnership by Courthouse Libraries BC (the LawMatters program), PovNet, and Legal Aid BC. These virtual meetings brought together advocates, community outreach workers and library workers to discuss common barriers our clients face in accessing the justice system, brainstorm potential solutions and establish and expand referral networks in each region or community.

A report was developed about what was learned during these sessions. This report presents key findings and common themes, and outlines next action steps by the organizers.

On Monday, May 30th, the organizers will be holding a webinar to discuss the findings of this report, and to facilitate discussions about how they can work together to ease people’s experience and increase access to justice. Intermediaries, advocates, library workers and other legal advocates will find these discussions useful.

May 16, 2022 update: Registration is now open. Please note that this session will be run as a meeting, not a webinar. Attendees will be invited to participate in the workshop in whatever way works best for them.

Findings from Community Forum Series

Report available here: Community Forum Report (PDF).

Among the findings:

  • There is an ever-increasing demand for community legal services and not enough services to keep up with this demand. Legal intermediaries (e.g. advocates and library workers) are continuously stretched to help members of the public navigate the justice system.
  • There is limited inter-connection among service providers and a general lack of awareness of services available in local communities and regions. Coupled with a high rate of turnover, it can be difficult to establish and solidify referral networks. More frequent regional-based contact could help strengthen those networks.
  • Indigenous people face systemic barriers to accessing services, and there is a need for more on-reserve and wrap-around services.
  • Many rural and remote communities lack lawyers and other legal services. Often, strict eligibility requirements for free or low-cost services mean that many people in these communities are unable to access them. These constraints are a barrier to people getting the essential help they need from intermediaries.

Using the Report

One of CLBC’s strategic goals is to reduce barriers to accessing high quality legal information, resources & referrals, so we will be using the information from this report to inform our activities. Specifically, we will focus on exploring ways to continue hosting regular community meetings to connect intermediaries and support informed referrals in regions and communities. We will also be improving the Clicklaw HelpMap to direct people to appropriate local resources, and will continue to support the legal information needs of lawyers, notaries, library staff and intermediaries delivering much-needed services in remote and rural communities.

Intermediaries in BC can use this report to learn more about the current reality of community-based legal services and existing barriers to access to justice. This report also includes key messages to funders and influential stakeholders, in support of more holistic and stable funding for community programs.

About LawMatters

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LawMatters is a Courthouse Libraries BC outreach program for public libraries. We work in partnership with libraries to provide local access to legal information in print, as well as legal reference and referral services in communities throughout the province.

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