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.

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wills regime, the Wills, Estates and Succession Act (WESA) came into force on March 31, 2014 to revise and replace the outdated Estate Administration Act, Probate Recognition Act, Wills Act, and the Wills Variation Act.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 […]

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 […]

What counts as separation in BC?
January 31, 2017

In BC, the Family Law Act and Wills, Estates and Succession Act define the term spouse by reference to the term “separation”. Under WESA, section 2 provides that spouses cease to be spouses as follows: If they are married, on separation as it is considered under the FLA; or If they are living in a common […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Understanding Wills Variation
April 6, 2013

It was the earlier lobbying of women’s groups in the early 20th century that was responsible for the enactment of the first Wills Variation Act (now the Wills Estates and Succession Act). The evolving rights and role of women in society has continued to stand behind the interpretation of the Wills Variation Act by the […]

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 […]

Varying Wills in British Columbia
December 12, 2012

Estate litigation lawyers use part of the Wills Estates and Succession Act (or WESA, formerly the Wills Variation Act) when varying wills. In British Columbia, wives, husbands and children are protected from their parents or spouses writing wills and leaving their assets in a way that offends contemporary community standards. Section 60 of WESA (formerly Section […]

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