WESA (Wills Estates and Succession Act), the new legislation now in effect in BC, has carried over the ability for the Courts of British Columbia to make Wills Variation orders for our clients in Vancouver, Surrey, Kelowna and Fort St John, or anywhere else in the province.
Section 60 of WESA carries forward the old law related to Wills variation and remains largely unchanged. This section on Wills variation empowers the BC Supreme Court to vary the distribution of the Will maker’s estate in a Will if it does not make adequate provision for eligible claimants.
One of the measures by which adequate provision is measured for a spouse is what that spouse would receive under BC’s family property division laws. Because of this, your lawyer needs to understand not only the Wills Estates and Succession Act, but also how the new Family Law Act has changed the property division rights of married and unmarried persons living in a marriage like relationship.
Fortunately, in addition to our knowledge and experience in estate litigation, MacLean Law has one of the largest family law departments in the province. Our estate and family lawyers work hand in hand and are very experienced in assessing whether or not adequate provisions have been made for an excluded or marginalized beneficiary (i.e. those who have been entirely left out of a Will or who have received a “less-than-fair” share).
Time is of the essence when dealing with Wills Variation and other Estate matters, so please contact us immediately. You can click here to access our convenient online form, or call our Vancouver Wills Variation lawyers at 604.602.9000. You can also reach our Fort St John, Kelowna, or Surrey Wills Variation lawyers toll free by dialing 1-877-602-9900 from anywhere in North America.
6 Month Time Limit For Vancouver Wills Variation
Section 61 provides a time limit for commencing a proceeding to vary a Will (approximately 6 months) and requires notice to be provided to the executor of the Estate within 30 days of the expiry of this six-month period.
A Will Maker’s Reasons Are Important
Section 62 allows the court to consider evidence of the underlying reasons a Testator (the will-maker) made the Will in the first place, and then to give appropriate weight to those reasons. The rationale for this is as follows: if the Court is going to change the terms of a Will in order to ensure adequate provision is made for one or more beneficiaries, it’s vital that the Court also consider the Testator’s intent. (i.e what was the motive for excluding a spouse or child?) Some reasons can be found to be valid, (such as a spouse or child’s adequate ability to care for themselves without receiving anything from the Testator’s estate), and some reasons can be found to be invalid and therefore subject to modification by the Court, (such as an intent to punish a spouse or child by depriving them of their fare share).
If A Vancouver Wills Variation Occurs What Happens To The Original Shares People Were Originally Supposed to Receive?
Section 65 says that if the Will is varied, the normal rule is that the entitlement of all other beneficiaries is decreased by an equal amount in order to satisfy the claimant’s entitlement. However, a court can also make a different adjustment under certain circumstances in order to ensure justice is served.
Vancouver Wills Variation cases invoke emotion and can deeply impact family relationships. Our experienced lawyers will help ensure the estate is divided fairly, and in most cases we can accomplish this through a quick negotiation, mediation or arbitration. If a satisfactory outcome cannot be achieved through these alternate dispute resolution options, then we will tenaciously pursue your fair share in court.
You owe it to yourself to allow us to help you now, before it’s too late. Please call us in Vancouver at 604-602-9000 or toll-free from anywhere in the province at 1-877-602-9900.