How Old Do I Have to be to Make a Will?

By Vanessa DeDominicis

Everyone should have a valid Will in place. If you die without a Will, your assets may be administered by the Public Trustee and distributed in a manner contrary to your wishes. Your Will is the legal instrument that allows you to appoint an Executor/Trustee of your choice. Wouldn’t you prefer to appoint close family members or friends to take care of the administration of your Estate when you are gone? Much better than a stranger.

In BC, anyone over the age of 16 can make a Will. It used to be age 19 (pre-March 2014 legislation). The old legislation provided that a person only acquires “testamentary capacity” at age 19, which is the age of majority. There was an exception for minors who were married or for persons on military service or mariners – they were allowed to make Wills even if they were under 19.

Now, anyone 16 or over can make a valid Will. There are numerous benefits to this, such as unmarried minors can also have children, so it is much better to allow any minor of potentially child-bearing or child-fathering age to make a Will. Further, the type of work the minor is engaged in shouldn’t matter. There are many dangerous jobs that 16 year olds could be doing – not just military service. Minors who work in other dangerous jobs (e.g., mining or forestry etc.) should also be able to make Wills.

Not to mention, minors often own valuable assets such as vehicles. Minors may be beneficiaries to other estates, which can be very complicated if that minor does not have their own Will. Dealing with these assets on death is infinitely easier if the assets pass under a Will.

This is provided as information ONLY; it should NOT be construed as legal advice. You should consult with a lawyer to provide you with specific advice for your own situation. For more information on estate planning/incapacity planning and to discuss your specific circumstances, please contact Vanessa DeDominicis on 250-869-1140 or dedominicis@pushormitchell.com Vanessa is a long time Lake Country resident who practices in the area of Wills and Estates at Pushor Mitchell LLP in Kelowna and would be more than happy to assist you.