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 […]

The Deficiency of Section 213 of the Family Law Act for Out of Court Agreements
June 9, 2022

The court in B.L.S v D.J.S 2022 BCSC 764 took a tapered interpretation of s. 213 of the Family Law Act. This interpretation may incentivize improper disclosure for settlement agreements outside of court. Background The plaintiff in this case was the wife of the defendant. After separating in 2011, the pair entered into a separation […]

Can the estate of a deceased spouse commence a family law claim on their behalf?
May 30, 2022

What happens if a spouse has separated from their partner, but prior to their death does not commence a family law claim for division of assets? Can their estate commence a family claim even when the deceased made no such effort? Background This issue arose in the case of Weaver Estate v. Weaver, 2022 BCCA […]

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.

Fighting over Fluffy: Who Gets to Keep the Family Pet?
April 29, 2021

Fighting over Fluffy: Who Gets to Keep the Family Pet? For many people, the family pet is considered a living breathing member of the family. In some cases they are better behaved than most family litigants. Although the Court has been known to make interim custody orders for a motorcycle (Krczizanowski v Fieseler, 2018 BCSC […]

Reviewing Spousal Support in Separation Agreements: What is “Material Change”?
March 20, 2021

Reviewing Spousal Support in Separation Agreements: What is “Material Change”? Most family claims are resolved by way of settlement agreement rather than trial. The amount and duration of spousal support are commonly set out in an agreement and can sometimes be incorporated in a Consent Order. The wording of those clauses requires careful attention, especially […]

Examinations for Discovery during Covid: Is Zoom the default?
November 5, 2020

Examinations for Discovery during Covid: Is Zoom the default? The Covid pandemic has definitively altered the way litigation is conducted in British Columbia, including conducting examinations for discovery. While the courts struggled initially to adapt to a new way of conducting hearings progress is (slowly) being made. Trials are still being conducted in person, subject […]

Failure to Consummate a Marriage still valid grounds for annulment in BC
September 12, 2020

Failure to Consummate a Marriage still valid grounds for annulment in BC An annulment for failure to consummate a marriage is still alive and well in British Columbia. Annulment vs. Divorce Divorce and annulment have the same result: dissolution of the marriage. However, both have different implications for how the prior marriage is treated. A […]

Settlement Offers and Releases: Pitfalls and Problems
August 21, 2020

Settlement Offers and Releases: Pitfalls and Problems Most litigants are able to resolve their issues without trial by agreement. Releases are a standard part of the process and provide assurance to both sides of the transaction that the issue has been laid to rest and neither side can bring any future claims. Often the releases […]

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”? […]

Tax Consequences of Lump Sum vs Monthly Spousal Support: Why the difference matters
May 25, 2020

Tax Consequences of Lump Sum vs Monthly Spousal Support: Why the difference matters Spousal support can be awarded and paid as lump sum or periodic monthly payments. Each method has its own benefits and drawbacks. However, there are tax consequences in opting for one or the other that should be factored into determining an amount. […]

Are RRSP and RRIF Withdrawals part of Income for Spousal and Child Support? (Short Answer: It depends)
May 13, 2020

Are RRSP and RRIF Withdrawals Part of Your Income for Spousal and Child Support? (Short Answer: It depends) Many people make RRSP and RRIF withdrawals before and during a family claim. Sometimes these are used to pay legal bills or purchase a new residence. If you do make a withdrawal, how does it affect your […]

Are Views of the Child Reports Binding?
April 30, 2020

Are Views of the Child Reports Binding? Views of the Child Reports or “Section 211” reports are an important piece of puzzle to help the court determine what the appropriate parenting arrangements should be. Sometimes a parent may not agree with the results of a section 211 report and they may feel the report is […]

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 […]

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