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.

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 […]

Time Limits for Service under S. 61 of WESA: Recent Developments
April 13, 2017

British Columbia’s new wills regime, the Wills, Estates and Succession Act (WESA) came into force on March 31, 2014 to revise and replace the outdated Estate Administration Act, Probate Recognition Act, Wills Act, and the Wills Variation Act. WESA is still brand new and many of its provision are still being interpreted for the first […]

Deathbed Will found to be Valid under WESA
April 7, 2017

In Re Bach Estate, 2017 BCSC 548 a testator left his entire estate to one sister in a one page will, signed the night before he died to the exclusion of his other sisters, children and stepchildren. Ms. S, the lucky sister applied to court for a declaration that the one page document and the […]

Is a Draft Will Legal?
March 7, 2017

Common questions that people have in British Columbia estate law include: “Is a draft will legal” or “binding” or “valid”? This article attempts to give some guidance on how to answer those questions. In British Columbia, for a will to be valid, it must meet the requirements found in Section 37 of the Wills, Estates […]

Deed of Gift Unnecessary to Avoid Resulting Trust
February 21, 2017

A recent court of appeal decision makes it clear that evidence of a full and complete gift (rather than resulting trust) does not necessarily mean a “deed of gift”. The recent court of appeal case regarding the McKendry Estate involved Mary McKendry (deceased), her 5 children (4 daughters 1 son), and the Vancouver property purchased by […]

Wills Variation Warrior
April 9, 2014

British Columbia wills variation lawyers have pause to remember one of the great warriors of the past. One of the seminal decisions for the unique British Columbia statutory provision giving the court authority to change a will is the now 83-year-old Supreme Court of Canada Contested Will Claim Walker v. McDermott [1931] SCR 94. This […]

Limiting Powers of Attorney
September 27, 2013

Recently in Easingwood v. CRockroft, 2013 BCCA 182, the honourable Madam Justice Saunders of the British Columbia Court of Appeal considered the legalities arising when an attorney under a power of attorney creates an alter ego trust on behalf of a principal. For a better understanding of alter ego trusts, please click here. The case […]

What is an Alter Ego Trust?
September 23, 2013

An alter ego trust may be used to avoid wills variation claims. When someone dies, everything that was in their legal name at the time of death is presumed to form part of the deceased’s estate. It is the deceased’s estate that then passes to beneficiaries. Who the beneficiaries are is usually determined by the […]

Inherent Jurisdiction
August 1, 2013

In the recent WVA case of Reznik v. Matty, 2013 BCSC 1346 Mr. Justice Funt reviewed the law relating to the inherent jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of British Columbia. The case involved an estate worth approximately $650,000 consisting of about $100,000 in cash or near cash and approximately $550,000 in real estate. The testator […]

Moral versus Legal Claims
April 14, 2013

Beyond a consideration of the competing legal claims are the moral claims which the courts must consider in deciding a Wills Variation Act claim. These moral claims are usually more individual and specific than legal claims and can include the most varied considerations, some of which be assured/implied expectations, disability and financial circumstances. It will […]

Adequate Provision that is Just and Equitable
April 10, 2013

The most intriguing part of the Wills Variation Act (now the Wills, Estates and Succession Act) is that “adequate provision for the proper maintenance and support” and “adequate, just and equitable” is judged in light of contemporary community standards, legal and moral. These legal and moral standards are different in different parts of our country, different in […]

Trusting the Trustee
April 2, 2013

Beneficiaries have to be able to trust their trustee. Period. Trusts occur in different ways: Automatically by operation of the law, by express written document, or by express unwritten agreement. Sometimes trustees don’t know they’re trustees because the trust has arisen automatically by operation of the law. That is no excuse. The relationship between a […]

What is a Beneficial Interest?
April 1, 2013

A beneficial interest is a term used to describe the situation that occurs when something is held in “trust”. You may have a beneficial interest in something if you are the “real” owner of it, but legally it is “held” by someone else. For example, Benny is 80 years old. Benny buys this house with […]

Estate Left to Stars Likely Challenged
March 18, 2013

A BC estate is subject to the Wills, Estates and Succession Act (WESA, formerly the Wills Variation Act). WESA allows spouses and children to vary wills of their parents and spouses. In such cases, the court struggles with balancing two principles: that a deceased has the right to choose what should happen with their assets […]

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