I was looking at a printer’s proof edition of the new British Columbia Probate Kit (it will appear for sale on our website in the coming week), and that got me reflecting on the history behind it.
The original guide to probating a will in British Columbia was written by Constance Mungall in the 1970s. Constance was a journalist who found herself needing to deal with the probate of her mother′s estate. She decided to do the process without the help of a lawyer, using her interviewing skills to prise out of court registry officials and others the information she needed to perform the task.
From that process came the first Probate Guide, together with forms developed by Constance and the editors at Self-Counsel.
As procedures and rules evolved, and reader comments identified bits that were not as clear as possible, Constance updated the book and we released new editions. The book was expanded to deal with the administration of estates (administration describes a process required when there is no will). In all, 19 editions of the book were produced.
Constance Mungall passed away in 2010 and we will miss her.
The new book I am looking at was written by Mary-Jane Wilson, an experienced lawyer who is a frequent speaker on estate planning matters at the Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia. It is a new book from the ground-up, but it maintains Constance Mungall’s emphasis on clarity of explanation.
While it is an all-new book, it is also the 20th version of the guide to probate from Self-Counsel and a re-affirmation of our commitment to making the law accessible to people wanting to complete reasonably straightforward processes themselves, without the considerable expense of retaining a lawyer.