Free Wills Month this May makes it easy to leave your legacy

B.C. lawyers & charities come together to provide free wills for residents aged 55 and older this May

Your will is a powerful tool. It enables you to provide for your family and friends after you’re no longer here and is a fantastic opportunity to create a distinct legacy – a way to leave your mark on the world by helping great causes without it costing you anything in your lifetime.

Sponsored by six charities – Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian Parks & Wilderness Society, Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Vancouver Humane Society – Free Wills Month invites those age 55-plus to contact a participating lawyer to have a simple will written or updated free of charge.

While only about seven per cent of Canadians include a charity in their will, many more say they would have, had they thought about it at the time. Raising awareness helps. Over the seven years since Free Wills Month launched, about 60 per cent of participants have included charitable gifts in their wills, notes Toni Andreola, campaign director for Free Wills Month in Canada.

These gifts are vital to charities – even a small portion of your estate can represent a valuable gift that allows them to continue their work. The added advantage is that it costs nothing now.

Leaving a gift is optional for those participating in Free Wills Month, and any charity can be the recipient.

3 questions to ask before participating in Free Wills Month:

  1. What are your assets and liabilities? Weighing your assets like property, financial investments and insurance policies against your debts helps establish the current value of your estate.
  2. What do you want to leave loved ones and others? List these specifics and name the people or charities you wish to gift them to.
  3. Who would you like to act as executor(s)? This could be a friend or relative, or you could ask a lawyer, however you’ll pay a fee for this service.

Need more help with planning? Check out the will planner at www.freewillsmonth.ca

For full details including a list of participating law firms, visit www.freewillsmonth.ca. Select a lawyer from the list close to you, and call to make an appointment. Your free will doesn’t have to be prepared during May, but you must contact the law firm by May 31.

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