Family, Estates & Trusts 


Category: Wills

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Everything You Should Know About Estate Law in British Columbia

BC estate law covers a lot of ground. It includes estate planning (Wills, trusts, incapacity planning) and the law that applies if a family member dies without a Will. Estate law also includes estate litigation, which may be necessary if there are questions about the validity of a Will, suspicions that a will maker lacked […]
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BC Inheritance Laws

It is a fact of life that all of us will experience the loss of loved ones. When family members die, it can bring up a lot of emotions. It can also bring up a lot of confusion and questions about inheritance rights. For that reason, it is so important to understand BC inheritance law. […]

DIY Will Declared Valid, as Were Gifts to Signing Witnesses

DIY Will Declared Valid, as Were Gifts to Signing Witnesses In Wolk v. Wolk, 2021 BCSC 1881, a BC man named Dawson Wolk prepared his own will in 2016 and signed it in front of three witnesses. Two of the witnesses—Dawson’s mother and father—were beneficiaries of the entire estate under his will. After Dawson’s death […]

Unsigned Will Given Effect Despite Fluctuating Mental State of Will-Maker

In this article we will discuss important points from Gibb Estate (Re), 2021 BCSC 2461 on mental capacity, validity of wills, and the court’s duty to give effect to a deceased’s intentions whenever possible. While in the hospital after suffering a heart attack, a BC man named John Gibb requested that his lawyer prepare […]

Dementia Raises Suspicion that Late-in-Life Will Not Valid

A late-in-life Will that disinherits certain children. Dementia and cognitive decline of the will-maker. Secrecy surrounding preparation of the new will. All of this led to a dispute over the estate of an elderly BC woman in Re Singh Estate, 2019 BCSC 272. In this case, the will-maker’s eight children and most of their spouses […]
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BC Court Declares Unsigned Will To Be Valid

In March 2020, the world ground to a halt as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Offices were shuttered and in-person meetings were only permitted for essential purposes. In light of the pandemic, Marilyn Bishop cancelled her March 20th appointment at her lawyer’s office to execute her new will. She had already given her instructions, […]

BC Estate Litigation FAQ: Can a handwritten document alter an earlier will?

A handwritten document can be effective as a will or codicil to a will if the court is satisfied that the document is a deliberate or fixed and final expression of the deceased’s intention as to the disposal of property upon death. Testamentary intention means more than an expression of how a person would like […]

Beneficiary Designations: Review Regularly and Update As Needed

Beneficiary Designations I have seen many problems for loved ones when a person dies before they had a chance to update their beneficiary designations, including unintended tax consequences. I will describe the tax consequences more below. Your estate planning is more than just drafting and signing your Will. You must look at all your assets […]

Judge Rectifies Error from an “Accidental Slip” in BC Will

Can a BC Will be “corrected” if it contains an accidental slip or omission? In Jamt Estate (Re), 2021 BCSC 788 it was not noticed until after the will-maker’s death that the Will may have misstated the middle name of the sole beneficiary. Who should inherit the deceased’s estate: the deceased’s nephew (“Per Martin Jamt”) […]
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Vancouver Estate Litigation: Are “Pour-Over” Clauses Valid in BC Wills?

A multi-million dollar BC estate was the subject of recent Vancouver estate litigation. The Court in Waslenchuk Estate, 2020 BCSC 1929 was asked to examine the interrelationship between a Will and a Trust. The deceased’s Will contained a clause that “poured” the residue of her estate into a Trust, which could be amended or revoked […]
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