What Can a BC Notary Do for You?
Certainly, they can notarize documents, but they also have extensive knowledge in Wills and Estate planning and handle the bulk of real estate transactions in British Columbia. In fact, Notaries in BC have an expanded scope of practice compared to most other provinces, where Notaries are limited to witnessing signatures on certain documents.
“Essentially, BC Notaries provide non-contentious legal services,” Victoria Notary Karen Graham explains.
Education and Training
BC Notaries are highly educated. After the rigorous screening process by The Society of Notaries Public of BC, approved Notary candidates enrol in the Masters degree in Applied Legal Studies program at Simon Fraser University. Then comes practical training with experienced Notary mentors. When students successfully pass the in-depth examinations legislated by the BC Government, the new Notaries are commissioned by the Supreme Court of BC.
Finding Your Notary
A Notary will often see you through many significant life events. “It’s important to work with a Notary who you are comfortable with to ensure your experience is positive,” emphasizes Graham.
“I don’t own anything, I don’t need a Will,” is a comment Graham often hears. A Will is your opportunity to say what happens once you pass away, such as who will be your executor and the guardian of your children and your pets.
Graham provides clients a checklist of items to consider before their appointment. “Some clients are embarrassed that they have put off making a Will for so long. When we are finished, they often say how relieved they are to have their Will in place and that our process was a lot easier than they expected.”
Legal documents must be signed by a person with full mental capacity. Says Graham, “No one plans on having an accident or an illness that can result in decreased capacity, so it is essential to complete your personal planning documents while you are fully capable. I often see concerned friends and family members, not sure what to do when someone close to them is showing signs of diminished capacity. If that individual has not made legal documents that appoint someone to act on his or her behalf, the situation is stressful for loved ones who don’t know what options are available.” Graham recommends contacting your local Notary to learn about those options.
Graham loves her work and feels this impacts her client interactions in a positive way. “Clients appreciate their positive experience and that makes my day, too.”
Her Notary office is across from Royal Jubilee Hospital and she also visits clients in the hospital and at home.