Common Questions on Preparing Your Will

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This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by Stephen Hsia in January 2019.

How is a will different from a power of attorney or representation agreement?[edit]

A will can only be used after you die. A power of attorney and a representation agreement are documents that can be used to handle your affairs while you’re alive.

With a power of attorney, you can authorize someone to take care of financial and legal matters for you. With a representation agreement, you can name someone to assist you with health care and personal care matters. A representation agreement can also cover routine financial and legal matters.

What is a “living will”?[edit]

A “living will” is not a legal document in British Columbia. The term has been used to describe a person’s wishes for their end-of-life medical care. In British Columbia, you can sign a representation agreement or an advance directive. Both documents can help with health care decisions you may face down the road, if you’re not able decide independently.

Do I need to prepare a new will if I move between provinces?[edit]

It’s always a good idea to prepare a new will if you move out of province. If someone dies in British Columbia but had a valid will in another province, the executor may be able act on the will. But the process may be more complicated.

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