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Common Questions

I'm trying to find a will

Last reviewed in October 2020 by Clicklaw Editors

Here are some steps you can take to find a will:

  1. First, search the Vital Statistics Wills Registry for a Wills Notice. This can take several weeks. It contains the location of the will at the time of filing, but does not contain a copy of the will. Anyone can search for a Wills Notice if the will-maker (testator) has passed away, but if the will-maker is alive, only the will-maker or a lawyer can do the search. A will-maker does not have to file a Wills Notice, but it is recommended.

  2. Do a Basic Search of the Nidus Personal Planning Registry for the will-maker. If the will-maker shows up as an Account Holder, they could have registered a copy of the will in the Personal Planning Registry.

  3. If the will has been probated, you can contact the appropriate Supreme Court Registry to find out if they have the will and how much it is to get a copy of the will. Read more about how to do this in the Common Question, “How do I know if a will has been probated?

When Someone Dies without a Will
, from People’s Law School, explains what the law says in this situation.

Need more help?

  • If you have more questions or need further help, for example—if a will is "lost"—please see the Get Help services that are available via the Courthouse Libraries BC Wills Resources page.
  • Lawyer Referral Service, from Access Pro Bono, offers a free initial consultation with a lawyer for up to 30 minutes.
  • Find more help near you on Clicklaw HelpMap.

See our related common questions:

Some quick definitions:

The Executor is the person named in the will to carry out the will-maker's instructions. For example, the executor distributes property in the estate (land, personal items, etc. that the will-maker owned at time of death). If the estate includes things like real estate that is not jointly owned, the executor will have to apply for Probate.

is a way of getting the court to say a will is legally valid. This involves filling out the necessary forms and submitting them to the Probate Registry of any Supreme Court in BC.

If there is no executor because the deceased person passed without a valid will (intestate) OR had a valid will but the appointed executor cannot act, a person can apply to become Administrator of the estate. The administrator will have similar duties to an executor.
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