Will Drafting and Execution Checklist (16:App B)

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This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by the Law Students' Legal Advice Program on July 8, 2022.

This checklist will help ensure students have considered and dealt with all relevant factors when drafting a will. The checklist is not a substitute for a thorough reading of appropriate sections of the Manual.

  1. Is there a competent Will-maker (testamentary capacity, age)?
  2. Were instructions properly taken? Do directions received represent the Will-maker's true wishes?
  3. Are there any previous subsisting wills or codicils?
  4. Is all property adequately dealt with? Have the Will-maker make a list of assets and any obligations that may bind the estate (agreements, guarantees, etc.).
  5. Is there a proper revocation clause, and a clause confirming that this is the last will?
  6. Have a suitable Executor and alternative Executor been appointed?
  7. Has a 30-day survivorship clause with alternate beneficiaries been included?
  8. If minor children are or may be involved, is a proper trust created with a Trustee and a guardian appointed? Note: if the client wants to create a trust for a child, refer the client to a private lawyer.
  9. Are all beneficiaries properly identified with proper name, whether adopted, etc? Is a common-law spouse or stepchild properly described?
  10. Does the will properly deal with an existing separated legal spouse or a divorced spouse?
  11. Is there any provision made for the client’s spouse(s) and children? Is it adequate? If not adequate, is there a statement of the Will-maker’s reasons for not making adequate provisions or an explanation of why the Will-maker feels the provision made is adequate? Note: if the client wishes to inadequately provide for their spouse(s) and children, refer the client to a private lawyer.
  12. Is the will, as a whole, internally consistent? Are mistakes and alterations properly dealt with?
  13. Is marriage imminent, or has marriage occurred since the Will-maker’s last will?
  14. Has there been proper execution followed by proper attestation by disinterested witnesses? Has the will been dated and have the Will-maker and witnesses initialled the bottom of each page? Is each page identified as the X page of the Will-maker’s will?
  15. Has the client been advised to keep their will in a safe place known to the personal representative, and to review and possibly update their will as circumstances change (death of Executor or beneficiary, marriage or separation, acquisition of property not adequately dealt with in the will, etc.)?
  16. Has a Wills Notice been filed (or delivered to the Will-maker with the completed will)?
  17. Is the Will-maker satisfied with the present beneficiary designations made with respect to any insurance policies, RRSPs, or pensions?

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