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Common Questions

How do I make a will?
Last reviewed in February 2023 by the Clicklaw Editors.

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.

Getting started

Legal research materials

  • Chapter 16: Wills and Estates Administration, is written by law students from the Law Students Legal Advice Program at UBC. You can use this guide to learn about drafting and executing wills, altering them, challenging them and more. This guide also has court cases.
  • Wills & Personal Planning Precedents: An Annotated Guide - Peter W. Bogardus, QC and Mary B. Hamilton. This publication is for lawyers who draft wills for their clients. You can use this guide to find sample clauses for wills, power of attorney, nominations of committee, and representation agreements. Print and electronic versions are available at Courthouse Libraries branches.
  • Looking for more legal research materials? Courthouse Libraries BC has a list of wills and personal planning resources.

Where to get help

  • Courthouse Libraries BC provides legal research assistance and access to the library collections via a network of libraries in BC courthouses.
  • Lawyer Referral Service, from Access Pro Bono, offers a free initial consultation with a lawyer for up to 30 minutes. If you'd like further help from the lawyer, you can retain them at an agreeable rate of charge.
  • Access Pro Bono’s Wills Clinic - The clinic helps low to modest income clients who are terminally ill or are 55 years or older. Volunteer lawyers can help clients with drafting and executing wills, representation agreements, and enduring powers of attorney.
  • UBC Law Students’ Legal Advice Clinics (LSLAP) – Appointments are offered in-person and remotely. These clinics help low-income individuals who live in the Lower Mainland. LSLAP can help draft legal documents like demand letters, wills (if the total value of the estate is under $25,000), powers of attorney, representation agreements and advanced directives, and notices of claim and replies.
  • Seniors First BC’s Elder Law Clinic – This is a pro bono service that older adults can use to get help with legal matters such as preparing wills, powers of attorney and representation agreements.
  • Looking for more help? Use the Clicklaw HelpMap!

See our related common questions

If you didn’t find what you were looking for in this guide, we also have a list of common questions about wills & estates and personal planning. Some examples include:

wills, writing a will, estates, making an estate plan