What constitutes a valid will?
Generally, most people understand a will to be someone’s final words before death containing details as to how their property (estate) is to be handled, this is correct, but what makes the document legally valid? A will, which may also be referred to as a testamentary document, must comply with the Wills Act [RSBC 1996] c.489 to be legally valid. Essential requirements for a valid will include:
a) Intended to have disposing effect;
b) It is intended to be revocable (and revocable in fact);
c) Intended not to take effect until after death and to be entirely dependent on death for its operation;
d) It complies with the corresponding legislation of the relevant jurisdiction (as above).
- Ss. 3 and 4 of the Wills Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 489
- It must be in writing.
- Signed at the end by the testator.
- Testator acknowledges the signature in the presence of two witnesses.
- Both witnesses sign in the presence of the testator.
A will must be valid in order for the Wills Variation Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 490 to apply.