Death and taxes in Oak Bay

Time to sharpen the pencil, and make a will

They say the only sure things in life are death and taxes.

As Oak Bay council embarks on its discussions tonight about what property taxes in the community might look like, it’s also Make a Will week in B.C.

The purpose is to encourage the public to write a will or bring an existing will up-to-date.

Writing a will isn’t on the minds of most adults prior to their twilight years.

New research shows a significant gap between the number of British Columbians who own a home and those with a legal will in place, particularly among those under the age of 35.

A March 2017 omnibus telephone survey of 500 B.C. residents by Mustel Group showed that 48 per cent of adults in the province have a will, while another recent Mustel survey showed that 74 percent of adults own a home.

The discrepancy is even higher among those 18 to 34 years old, of whom 50 per cent own a home but only 13 per cent have a will.

I get it, we don’t like to think about death, but a will is the best way to ensure that the people, charities and organizations receive the benefit of an estate. The kindest thing someone can do is ensure they have completed up-to-date estate planning, so that loved ones don’t need to worry about it after they’re gone.

The other motivation is cost: administering an estate can get expensive without a will, depending on the complexity of assets at the time of death.

Having a will also helps ensure that important questions for parents – like who will raise young children if both spouses die – are answered.

Creating a will is a straightforward process with a notary or lawyer, but there are options for writing a will without professional input. Find a Canadian will kit online at the Self-Counsel Press (self-counsel.com).

If you play your cards right, you may get that will in place before council decides on this year’s taxes during next Wednesday’s final budget meeting.