Severance of Court Actions Upheld On Appeal

The Court of Appeal in Johnston v Johnston Estate 2017 BCCA 59 upheld the trial decision found at 2016 BCSC 1388 where an action seeking that a will was invalid, or alternatively if it was valid it should be varied under the wills variation provisions… Read more

“Adopted Out” Child Cannot Contest Biological Parent’s Estate Under Wills Variation

Boer v Mikaloff Estate 2017 BCSC 21 confirmed that an “adopted out” child cannot contest the will of the biological parent’s estate under S.60 WESA (the wills variation provision) when it answered the following posed question negatively:   Does a child who is adopted by… Read more

Executor Added After Expiration of Wills Variation Limitation

Wills Variation Limitation. Under the provisions of section 60 WESA, an action under the wills variation provisions must be commenced within 180 days of the grant of probate or the action is statute barred. In the 1987 decision Cowan v Cowan 17 BCLR ( 2d)… Read more

Abuse , Neglect and Wills Variation

In my four decades of experience most wills variation claims  bring with them an individual or even sibling collective  story of abuse, neglect, and  other dysfunctions that result in a disinheritance to top it all off. It is settled law that the wills variation act ( now… Read more

Wills Variation and Court Costs

Two recent wills variation cases awarded the usual order of court costs to a winning party, namely Scale B. In Dakin v Patry 2016 BCSC 1006 a plaintiff won a summary  trial and was awarded scale B . In Ciarniello v James 2016 BCSC 1805 the… Read more

Wills Variation and Long Marriages

Ciarniello v James 2016 BCSC 1699 is a good example on how the court treats the division of estate assets  at the end of  long marriages when the survivor brings a wills variation action on the basis that she was not adequately provided for in her… Read more

Assets Passing Outside of the Estate

Assets Passing – Probably most people in North America die holding assets that pass from their name to others or their estate that pass both ” inside” and “outside” of the estate.   A deceased’s will only distributes assets that were personally owned by the deceased… Read more

Interim Distribution Ordered

An interim distribution of $250,000  of his maximum estate entitlement of $460,000 was ordered to a 76 year old former spouse of the deceased who needed funds in Davis v Burns Estate 2016 BCSC 1982.   The application was made  under section 155 of the… Read more

Civil Conspiracy

    Klaus v. Hamilton, 2015 BCSC 2386 involved a claimant who sued alleging he was a spouse of the deceased, for a variance of her will and for damages for civil conspiracy for alleging he was not a spouse.     The tort of… Read more

Court Discretion In Wills Variation Claims

In wills variation cases now brought under S. 60 WESA , the judge has “entire discretion” in deciding pro or against a claimant on its findings of fact. In Swain v Dennison 1967 SCR 7 the Supreme Court of Canada held that the jurisdiction of… Read more

Court Overturns

Court Overturns Man’s Will on Moral Grounds

The Bc Court over turned and varied a will where his four daughters had been left with nothing. William Werbenuk died more than two years ago with just enough money in the bank to pay for his funeral. The 86-year-old widower’s will gave all assets… Read more

Disabled Adult Succeeds Wills Variation

Willott v. Willott Estate 1997 CarswellBC 2016, [1997] B.C.J. No. 2073, 20 E.T.R. (2d) 211 is a 1997 wills variation action where a deceased parent’s estate was required to pay additional monies to a disabled son who unable to work, survived on a small disability… Read more

Will Varied to Give Daughter Entire Estate

Hagen-Bourgeault v. Martens 2016 BCSC 1096 varied a will (S. 60 WESA) to give a 25 year old daughter with two young children on social assistance, the entire estate of $2,200 per month until 2025, instead of her husband of two years who was well… Read more

Interim Payments Under Wills Variation

Interim Payments Under Wills Variation Grant v Grant estate 1997 Carswell BC 3773 allowed a widow in need of funds to receive interim payments under the wills variation provisions of WESA. The Grant and Hecht cases are only a few reported cases of the ability to… Read more

Public Policy Protects Wills Variation Claims

If a will contains a penalty provision, known as a forfeiture clause, threatening to impose a penalty upon a beneficiary if a will is contested, then in that event,  wills variation claims are protected by public policy so that such a clause is not enforceable in… Read more