The Vital Statistics Agency maintains the wills registry in British Columbia. Completing a search for a wills notice is a requirement of the wills probate process. Applicants can use the wills registry to:
Filing a Wills Notice
A wills notice is a form that you fill out to say that you have made a will. The wills notice contains the following information:
- Your full legal name and date of birth.
- The date you signed the will.
- The location of your will.
- The date you filed the wills notice with Vital Statistics.
Vital Statistics does not keep a copy of your will or record any information about its contents.
Who can file a wills notice?
A lawyer, notary, or trustee can file a wills notice for a client. You can file your own wills notice if you are:
- Over the age of 19 years.
- Under the age of 19 and married.
- Under the age of 19 and in the Canadian Forces on active duty.
How to file a wills notice
There are two ways to file a wills notice:
Online. Use our secure electronic service to enter your wills notice and pay with a Visa, MasterCard or American Express credit card.
Paper application. Mail a wills notice or deliver the application to any Vital Statistics Agency or Service BC office with your payment.
If you make changes to your will or its location
If you move your will to a new location, or change it with a codicil, you need to file a new wills notice to register the change. The cost for the new wills notice is $17.00.
Searching for a Wills Notice
After you have passed away, your executor may need to probate your will as part of settling your estate. The executor must include the results of an Application for Search of Wills Notice with the application for probate. You can find out more about wills and probate on the Ministry of Justice website.
If a person filed a wills notice, the result of the search will provide:
- The date the person signed the will registered in the wills notice.
- The location of the will at that time.
- The date the Vital Statistics Agency received the wills notice.
Who can request a search for a wills notice?
- If the person who wrote the will (the testator) is deceased, anyone who provides the documentation and payment listed below can apply.
- If the testator is still living, only the testator or a lawyer can request a search for a wills notice.
How to apply for a search for a wills notice
$20.00, plus $5.00 for each additional name the testator may have used on legal documents.
BC OnLine Customers
Lawyers and notaries can apply through BC OnLine at www.bconline.gov.bc.ca.