Introduction to Wills and Estates Collection

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Wills and Estates Collection brings together four titles from People's Law School on planning for aging and dealing with death:

  • Power of Attorney tells you how a power of attorney can be used to give someone the legal power to take care of financial and legal matters for you. It explains the types of power of attorney, who can be an attorney, what powers and responsibilities the attorney has, and how to end a power of attorney.
  • Writing Your Will explains how to leave instructions in a will for what you want done with your property and obligations after you die. It describes what is involved in making a will, what to consider in appointing an executor (the person responsible for carrying out the instructions in the will), and what to do after making your will.
  • A Death in Your Family deals with what to do when a loved one dies. It covers preparing for the death of a loved one, what to do immediately after the death, making the funeral arrangements, and where to find support.
  • Being an Executor is for people who have been appointed as executor in a will. It covers the steps involved in dealing with an estate after a person dies, including the procedure to probate the will (a court procedure that confirms the will is legally valid).

The information in this collection applies in British Columbia, Canada, and reflects the Wills, Estates and Succession Act, which became law in 2014.

Copyright & Disclaimer

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada Licence Wills and Estates Collection © People’s Law School is, except for the images, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada Licence.

At People's Law School, we believe accurate, plain English information can help people take action to work out their legal problems. This publication explains in a general way the law that applies in British Columbia, Canada. It is not intended as legal advice. For help with a specific legal problem, contact a legal professional. Some sources of legal help are highlighted in the "Where to Get Help" sections.

The cases we refer to are not always real but show a typical situation. We have included them to help you think about how to deal with your own situation.



The information in Wills and Estates Collection has been reviewed for legal accuracy by:

Helen Low, QC
Helen Low, QC, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP
Helen Low, QC is a lawyer with Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP in Vancouver. She practises primarily as a wills, estates and trusts lawyer. She assists clients when contentious disputes arise in respect of wills, trusts, inheritances, powers of attorneys and elderly and incapable family members. She also advises clients on estate planning, business succession planning, including drafting wills, trusts, personal planning documents and other agreements, to help families and business owners transfer their assets to their intended beneficiaries without future disputes. Since 2007, she has been an adjunct professor at UBC's Faculty of Law teaching wills and estate law. In 2014, Helen was appointed Queen's Counsel to recognize her expertise, reputation and contribution in the profession.

Helen helped review A Death in Your Family, Being an Executor, and Writing Your Will.

Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith, Barrister & Solicitor
Kevin Smith is a retired lawyer, having worked for several years with Seniors First BC (formerly BC Centre for Elder Advocacy and Support) in Vancouver. A graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School, he has an LLM in Elder Law from the Center for Excellence in Elder Law at Stetson University. Prior to joining Seniors First BC, he worked as a legal aid lawyer in Ontario for 30 years, including as the Clinic Director of Parkdale Community Legal Services, a community clinic associated with Osgoode. His work with Seniors First BC focused on elder abuse matters including financial abuse and financial exploitation, capacity issues, issues in seniors housing and residential care, and pension appeals.

Nicco Bautista
Nicco Bautista, BMO Wealth Management
Nicco Bautista is a lawyer at BMO Wealth Management in Vancouver, BC, where he prepares estate plans for clients. The plans, which include wills and trusts, balance business and tax planning, estate and family litigation exposure, and other complex issues such as charitable giving and planning for family members with special needs. He previously practiced as a wealth management lawyer with Fasken Martineau DuMoulin, where he prepared estate plans, assisted clients on estate administration matters, and assessed estate accounts on behalf of beneficiaries.

Nicco helped review A Death in Your Family.

Other Contributors

Also reviewing content were Hassan El Masri and Joan Letendre, notaries public practicing in British Columbia.

Writing, editing and layout support was provided by Drew Jackson, Elena Renderos, Jaime Burford, and Gayla Reid.

This publication was made possible through the financial support of the Law Foundation of BC, the Notary Foundation of BC, the Department of Justice Canada, and the Province of British Columbia.

About People's Law School

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People's Law School is a non-profit society in British Columbia, dedicated to making the law accessible to everyone. We provide free education and information to help people effectively deal with the legal problems of daily life. Visit us online at

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