The BC Wills Variation Basics

The BC Wills Variation Act Basics Any discussion of the British Columbia Wills Variation Act requires an understanding of the English common law which provides the background for this Act. English common law, developed by the English judges over the centuries, provided that when a… Read more

Disinheriting Adult Independent Children

Disinheriting Adult Independent Children As long as testamentary freedom exists, some parents will try to disinherit their children. In British Columbia a determined parent can do so with expert estate planning. If a parent simply uses their will to disinherit a child, however, that parent… Read more

BC WILLS VARIATION ACT: Consideration of Benefits Passing Outside Estate

The British Columbia Wills Variation Act is the statute which permits an eligible claimant to contest a will. The class of claimants eligible to bring a wills variance claim includes any spouse, common-law spouse (f they cohabited for 2+ years) and any child of the… Read more

Limitations for Wills Variation Claims

There is a relatively short limitation period for wills variation claims brought under British Columbia`s Wills Variation Act. Under WESA, a claimant must start any court action within 180 days  of the grant of probate to the executor of the impugned will. This allows for… Read more

Dysfunctional Families Are Everywhere

  Dysfunctional families are everywhere.   Some years ago the Vancouver Sun ran a feature on dysfunctional families and  reported that one in three British Columbians expect to be disinherited by their parents. Practising estate litigation for over 40 years, it is easy to believe… Read more

A Tribute to The BC Wills Variation Act

The question of a child’s ‘entitlement’ to share in a parent’s estate often provokes a very lively discussion. Many believe that a parent`s obligation ends once they have “fed, clothed, educated and sent the child on his or her way”. They argue that testators should… Read more

Reasons For Disinheritance In a Will Must Be “Valid and Rational”

A will makers reasons for disinheriting a child in his or her will must be valid and rationale Fuller v Fuller 2008 BCSC 702 is a familiar scenario in estate litigation. The will that states that no provision is being made for a child due… Read more

Don’t Bank On an Inheritance

Do not expect to receive an inheritance is the advice of most financial planners, as well as my own. In the early 1990’2 I read a survey taken by the Vancouver Sun stating that 1/3 of BC residents expect to be disinherited. In my many… Read more

Children “Adopted Out”Cannot Inherit From The Natural Parent On an Intestacy

The BC Court of Appeal decision of Clayton v Markolefas 2002 BCCA 435 stands for the proposition that a natural child of the testator, who has been adopted by another parent, is NOT entitled to inherit from the estate of his intestate natural parent. Nor… Read more

The Equitable and Discretionary Remedy of Rectification

Rectification: The Governing Legal Principles The Ontario case of Kanji v Canada Attorney General 2013 ONSC 781 provides a good review of the law of rectification of a mistake. A taxpayer attempted unsuccessfully to rectify a trust that was going to incur a great deal… Read more

Abandoned Infant Wins Wills Variation Claim

McMain v Leblanc 2013 BCSC 891 involves a fact pattern that is all too frequent in wills variation cases-the abandoned infant  who subsequently finds himself or herself disinherited from the absconding parent, often under the pretext of lack of contact, or even estrangement, but rarely the… Read more

Marriage Like Relationships

Marriage Like Relationships Campbell v Campbell 2011 BCSC 1491 is a family law, common-law relationship of approximately 5 years that again reviews the various criteria as to what constitutes a common-law marriage. The parties cohabited unmarried for approximately February 1998 two spring 2002. The female… Read more

Common Law Spouse of 21 Years Awarded %70 Estate

  The plaintiff and the deceased lived together in a common-law marriage like relationship for 21 years in a house owned by Rose. At the time of cohabitation, Rose was divorced and the deceased was separated. Rose had one child from a previous relationship.   At… Read more

Who Owns Your Digital Data After Death

Reprinted from the Economist July 18,2013 The Economist explains Who owns your digital data after death ? AFTER we die, our bodies are reduced to dust or ash, through burial or cremation. The fate of the digital corpuses we leave behind is rather more complicated. Before… Read more

Charitable Gifts

Canadian tax laws are structured such that in the area of estate planning, donations if made to a registered charity, can give rise to tax credits that can be used to offset the income of the deceased. Accordingly, if a deceased person leaves a charitable… Read more