Blog Posts

Below are our blog posts about recent developments in the areas of Estate, Family and Personal Injury law as well as comments on some recent important decisions from the BC Supreme Court, BC Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada.

Everything on the Table – Importance of Clarity when Designating a Beneficiary
March 9, 2022

In estate litigation any information regarding the deceased’s intentions must be disclosed as they cannot speak for themselves. From this, the Judge will infer the deceased’s intentions while sorting through a mess of hearsay statements from witnesses. This was the main issue in Simard v Simard Estate. Verna Simard was a very private and proper […]

Can the Obligation to the Child be Replaced by Benefitting the Grandchildren
February 15, 2022

Can the Obligation to the Child be Replaced by Benefitting the Grandchildren? In an April, 2021 BC Court of Appeal decision, the court considered a variation of a will on the basis that the testator’s moral obligation to his daughter was not discharged as he benefited her sons at her own expense. In Scurek v […]

Does Pre-Judgment Court Order Interest Need to be Pled on Retroactive Periodic Spousal Support?
February 1, 2022

Does pre-judgment court order interest need to be pled on retroactive periodic spousal support? The short answer is no. Court order interest, governed by the Court Order Interest Act [COIA], is mandatory on pecuniary judgments whether it is pled or not.

Secret Trusts and Estates: What are they and how do they work?
June 25, 2020

Secret Trusts: What are they and how do they work? Secret Trusts are not solely the product of Hollywood murder mysteries. While they are rare, they still do make an appearance in Estate claims. Most recently, they came before our Court of Appeal in Bergler v. Odenthal, 2020 BCCA 175 What is a “Secret Trust”? […]

Family Violence and Protection Orders
April 28, 2020

Protection orders are orders that the court can make to protect an at-risk family member from family violence. The purpose of granting a protection order is to recognize potential danger to vulnerable family members and provide the court with a means of ensuring the safety of those family members. Protection orders are governed by the […]

Separation and Parental Alienation
February 5, 2020

In a recent BC Supreme Court decision, the court considered the effects of parental alienation on children whose parents are separated or divorced. In N.S. v. C.S, 2020 BCSC 48, the separated couple had three young boys, aged 16, 12, and 10. Following the couple’s separation, the three children refused to have contact with their […]

The Difference Between Ademption and Abatement in Estate Claims
January 27, 2020

The Difference Between Ademption and Abatement in Estate Claims Estate claims are filled with legal jargon that few people use in their day to day lives. Abatement and ademption are often terms used in probate and estate claims, but what do they really mean? Ademption Ademption is what happens when someone makes a will and […]

How to address problems with joint executors
January 8, 2020

How to address problems with joint executors Many parents name their children and relatives as joint executors of their estate in their will. This may be problematic where families do not get along, or bad blood has developed since the signing of the will. The law requires persons who are joint executors of an estate […]

The Process of Proving and Varying a Will
January 3, 2020

What is a wills variation claim? Pursuant to section 60 of the Wills, Estates and Succession Act, SBC 2009 chapter 13, wills variation refers to the principle that where a testator has failed to make adequate provision for their spouse and children in their will, the spouse and/or children may bring an application to court […]

Recent Amendments to BC’s Wills, Estates and Succession Act: Who can sue on behalf of an estate?
November 11, 2019

Estate Litigation Update – New Amendments to BC’s Wills, Estates and Succession Act: Who can sue on behalf of an estate? The tools in WESA to allow estate litigation to recover assets on behalf of the estate have been recently expanded. The government of British Columbia recently introduced some minor tweaks in BC’s Will, Estates […]

A Change of Mind: When a Testator Alters Their Will
October 25, 2019

In a case decided earlier this year, the British Columbia Supreme Court discussed the implications of a testator altering his or her will after the will has been made. In Levesque Estate (Re), 2019 BCSC 927, the testatrix made a will nine years before her passing. At some point during the time between the creation […]

Parent Relocation and Best Interests of the Child
October 4, 2019

Can one parent relocate a child without the other parent’s consent? There are several circumstances in which one parent’s consent is not required to relocate a child. In a recent decision, the BC Supreme Court discussed the rules pertaining to the relocation of a child by one of the child’s parents. In Dowell v Hamper, […]

Unfair Wills and Testator Autonomy: Striking a Balance
August 1, 2019

Balancing a will maker’s autonomy with wills variation A recent National Post article reporting on a decision involving variation of an unfair will has gotten significant media attention and generated numerous online comments. The article summarizes the decision of Grewal v. Litt, 2019 BCSC 1154, in which a mother’s will left 93% of her million […]

The 411 on Section 211 Reports under the Family Law Act
July 6, 2019

The 411 on Section 211 Reports under the Family Law Act Section 211 reports are reports prepared by approved and qualified persons to help the court decide what the best interests of the children are for any orders. The “best interests of the children” are the foundation of any decision involving children under the Family […]

Proposed Changes to the Divorce Act on Relocation – Vancouver Family Lawyers
June 28, 2019

Vancouver Family Lawyers are here to explain how the recent changes to the Divorce Act will impact your ability to relocate with your child. The Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family surveyed lawyers and judges and over 98% of participants indicated that disputes involving issues regarding relocation are different to resolve. Bill C-78 […]

Failure to Comply is Fatal: Recent BC Supreme Court Decision on Document Production
June 23, 2019

Failure to Comply is Fatal: Recent BC Supreme Court Decision on Document Production When it comes to demanding documents in a civil lawsuit, failure to comply with the rules is fatal. Document production in BC Supreme Court is governed by Supreme Court Civil Rule 7-1(10), 7-1(11), and 7-1(12) and by Supreme Court Family Rule 9-1(7), […]

Wills Variation for Spouses under BC’s Wills, Estates and Succession Act
May 29, 2019

Wills Variation for Spouses under BC’s Wills, Estates and Succession Act Wills variation for spouses is a part of BC’s Wills, Estate and Succession Act. Section 60 of BC’s Wills, Estates and Succession Act provides that a spouse (including a common law spouse) may apply to vary a deceased person’s will where they do not […]

Accident Claims in BC: What you need to know about the new changes
May 1, 2019

Accident Claims in BC: What you need to know about the new changes On April 1, 2019, the BC government made changes to ICBC accident claims in the province. The largest change is the limitation of “minor injuries” to $5,500 and giving the Civil Resolution Tribunal exclusive power to hear claims for damages from motor […]

Tax Liabilities are Family Debt
April 24, 2019

CRA Debt and Family Debt: Whose responsible? A spouse’s CRA debt can be a significant issue in separation and divorce and a recent BC Supreme Court Decision of Neely v. Neely, 201F9 BCSC 610 found both spouses liable for tax debt incurred during the relationship. Under section 86 of the Family Law Act family debt […]

Is Gambling Debt Family Debt? New Supreme Court Family Ruling Explained
April 15, 2019

Are gambling debts the responsibility of both spouses? Gambling debt can be a tricky issue in Family Law. Section 87 of BC’s Family Law Act, specifically sets out what is “family debt”. Under section 86, family debt is any financial obligation incurred by either spouse during the relationship as well as any debt incurred after […]

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