Glossary for Writing Your Will

From Clicklaw Wikibooks
This section was last reviewed for legal accuracy by Helen Low, QC in January 2016.
Advance directive
A document specifying instructions to health care providers about what kind of health care treatment a person does or does not want, including life support or life-prolonging medical interventions.
Assets
Property owned by a person at their death. Assets can include things such as money, land, investments, and personal possessions such as jewelry and furniture.
Beneficiary
A person designated to receive money or property in a will, benefit plan, or insurance policy.
Codicil
A document made after the will that changes some things in the will.
Estate
All of the property and belongings a person owns at their death, with some exceptions. The estate does not include property owned with someone else jointly (such as a joint bank account) or property where a beneficiary has been designated (such as an insurance policy).
Executor
The person appointed in a will to carry out the instructions in the will and settle the will-maker's affairs after they die.
Notary public
A public official who is legally authorized to provide advice and prepare documents on certain matters, including wills (so long as they do not create trust terms).
Power of attorney
A legal document that enables an adult to give another person (or more than one person) the authority to make financial and legal decisions for them.
Probate
A legal procedure that confirms a will is legally valid and can be acted on. It allows financial institutions and others to rely on the will as being the last will made by the will-maker.
Public Guardian and Trustee
A public body established by law to protect the interests of British Columbians who lack legal capacity to protect their own interests.
Representation agreement
A legal document that enables an adult to authorize someone to make decisions for them when they can no longer manage on their own. The “representative” can make decisions relating to health care and personal care matters. With a “section 7 representation agreement”, the representative can also be authorized to handle “routine management” of financial affairs and most legal matters.
Residue
The residue of the estate is whatever is left over after the executor pays all the debts and expenses and distributes any specific gifts.
Spouse
Two persons who are married to each other, or who have lived together in a marriage-like relationship for at least the two years prior to the death of the will-maker.
Will
A legal document that leaves instructions about what the person making the will wants done with their assets and obligations after they die.
Will-maker
A person who makes a will.


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