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Common Questions

How do I make a will?

Last reviewed in October 2020 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 the law about wills in order to make a valid will.

Note: Remote witnessing of will signing is now a permanent part of BC law. Recognition of electronic wills is coming soon once tweaks to the probate rules are made to allow for the filing of electronic wills.

Good starting points include:

  • About Wills and Estates, from BC Ministry of Justice, provides general information about wills and estates. In addition to providing definition of terms used in legal documents, it answers common questions about wills, probate, administration, and estates.
  • Wills, from People’s Law School, provides practical and step-by-step information on making a will. Includes a section on preparing or updating your will during the pandemic. 
  • Preparing a Will and Estate Planning, from People's Law School, outlines the basics of making a will and an estate plan. You can listen to the page by visiting their Dial-A-Law website, or on the telephone by calling 1-800-565-5297 (604-687-4680 in the Lower Mainland).
  • Preparing Your Will, from People's Law School, explains how to prepare a will, what to consider when appointing an executor, and next steps after the will is finished. This booklet is available for download in multiple formats at the Clicklaw Wikibooks site.
  • LSLAP Manual: Wills and Estates, from the UBC Law Students' Legal Advice Program (LSLAP), has a section on making a will, including instructions on writing the will and sample wording.
Also see the CLBC's page on Wills and Personal Planning Resources here.

Need more help?

  • If you have more questions or need further help--please see the Get Help services that are available via the Courthouse Libraries BC Wills Resources page.
  • Seniors' Legal Clinics, from Seniors First BC, offers free legal consultations for seniors age 55+ (with low-income or other barriers) at select locations in Metro Vancouver once a month.
  • Lawyer Referral Service, from Access Pro Bono, offers an initial consultation with a lawyer for up to 30 minutes.
  • Find more help near you on Clicklaw HelpMap.

See our related common questions:

wills, writing a will, estates, making an estate plan, COVID-19, covid19, coronavirus