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Monday, September 17, 2018

In BC, can a notary prepare your will for you?

Those of you living in British Columbia might know that recently your courts dealt with the question of whether notaries can draft wills for members of the public, and if so, what limits exist on what they can do. The question was heard in Supreme Court and then appealed through the Court of Appeal so I assume that we now have a definitive answer.

The result is confirmation that notaries can, in fact, draw wills for the public, as long as they are wills that have immediate distribution. That is, the assets in the will are going to be given to the beneficiaries immediately on the death of the testator. If there is going to be a trust or a life estate in the will, it cannot be drawn up by a notary; it must be done by a lawyer.

This decision was based on the fact that notaries aren't lawyers. Only lawyers are allowed to: draw, revise or settle “a will, deed of settlement, trust deed, power of attorney or a document relating to a probate or a grant of administration of the estate of a deceased person”.

I hope this helps you decide where to go to have your will prepared, and please note that the above restrictions apply to Enduring Powers of Attorney.

Click here to read a more in-depth article about this court decision, known as Society of Notaries Public of British Columbia v. Law Society of British Columbia, 2017 BCCA 448, posted on the blog of Vancouver lawyers Alexander Holburn.


  1. Does this include creating a trust for a young beneficiary? So if I wanted to leave something to my 5 year old in trust, a Notary in BC would not be legally allowed to prepare my Will?


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