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Wills, Estates and Sucession Planning Law in BC
[update 2014]

Michael Mark, LLB - experienced wills disputes and estate litigation lawyer , in downtown Victoria's  McConnan  Bion O'Connor Peterson law corp.

A will sets out in writing how to deal with all of a person's property upon death.

Your will may be the most important document you will ever prepare.  Yet nearly half of all Canadians don't have one.

Survey:  More than half of Canadians do not have a signed will.

Lack of a will opens doors to legal complications

Toronto, ON - May 7, 2012 - A majority of Canadian adults (56 per cent) do not have a signed will, according to a survey of more than 2,000 Canadians released by LAWPRO®’s TitlePLUS® title insurance program today.  The survey also reveals that 71 per cent of Canadian adults do not have a signed power of attorney.

“The absence of a clear, signed will can become a divisive and contentious issue at a time when families are already experiencing grief, and can result in a range of complications, from belongings not going to the person they were intended for to court battles that cost thousands of dollars,” said Ray Leclair, Vice-President, Public Affairs, LAWPRO.

Charlotte Salomon, experienced wills, estate planning and probate lawyer in downtown Victoria, BC  CLICK FOR MORE INFO

In British Columbia, the new (in 2014) Wills, Estates and Succession Act ("WESA"), the Supreme Court Civil Rules, several other Acts and the common law govern what happens when a person passes away.  [see online copy of WESA document/id/ complete/ statreg/09013_01]

If the deceased died with a will, the person named in the will as the executor (or executrix if a woman), may apply to the Court for what is called a Grant of Probate of the will.  The authority of the executor arises from the appointment in the deceased's will.

Note:  Variation of Wills in the Wills, Estates and Succession Act, Part 4, Division 6 -
(see on-line version of WESA at: document/id/ complete/statreg/ 09013_01#part4_division6)

Maintenance from estate
60  Despite any law or enactment to the contrary, if a will-maker dies leaving a will that does not, in the court's opinion, make adequate provision for the proper maintenance and support of the will-maker's spouse or children, the court may, in a proceeding by or on behalf of the spouse or children, order that the provision that it thinks adequate, just and equitable in the circumstances be made out of the will-maker's estate for the spouse or children.

Time limit and service
61 (1)  A proceeding commenced by a person claiming the benefit of this Division must not be heard by the court unless
61 (1) (a)  the proceeding is commenced within 180 days from the date the representation grant is issued in British Columbia,
61 (1) (b) .....
[see WESA and/or consult a lawyer experienced in wills disputes / variation of wills for more information on this area of law ]

an interested person applies to the Court for what is called a Grant of Administration of the deceased's estate.  The person appointed is called the administrator (or administratrix if a woman)  Unlike the previous governing Act, WESA clearly sets out who is entitled to priority over another when making the application to become administrator.  The spouse has priority and may also nominate someone else who is entitled to that same priority without the consent of the children. 

see also - article on "What happens if you die without a will?"

Survey from LawPro can be seen at see ... 2012 news link

Note: the above update is NOT to be seen as legal advice, it is to assist the public viewer about some of the changes in 2014 to the law regarding Wills and Estates.  For the most current information about the law and preparing a will, please go to a lawyer experienced in the area of wills and estates law, for a consultation and assistance in updating or preparing your will.  Thank you for visiting 2014.05.14 bcp/lbc

Other reference sources

Learn more about the law:  executors and guardians, beneficiaries, types of gifts, and preparing a will.

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This page last updated: 2014.05.14
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