Proof In Solemn Form and Attestation Clauses

Proof In Solemn Form and Attestation Clauses

Bhall Estate 2017 BCSC 1867 involved a contested application to prove a will in solemn form where the court inter alia relied upon the presence of the attestation clause to be of some significance.

The will was drafted by a lawyer who kept very few notes and could not recollect who interpreted his instructions as the deceased spoke and understood no English.

Despite these shortcomings, the court found the will to be valid and granted probate.

Attestation Clauses

As noted in Allart Estate v. Allart, 2014 BCSC 2211, at paragraphs 58 and 59, the presence of an attestation clause is of significance. There the court said this:

[58] More significantly, in this case, the Original Will has an attestation clause, from which it can be presumed that the will was duly executed and witnessed by persons who knew the requirements of the Wills Act. The court will not assume that a person has signed his or her name to the attestation knowing it to be untrue: Beaudoin at para. 11; Yen Estate at paras. 14-16.

[59] Given the presence of the attestation clause with the names of the two witnesses below it attesting to the signature of the Decease [sic], as well as the apparent compliance with the statutory requirements for a will, I conclude that the doctrine of omnia presumuntur rite esse acta applies. I must presume that the will was duly executed by the Deceased and witnessed by individuals who knew the requirements of the Act unless evidence to the contrary is proven.

Trevor Todd

Trevor Todd is one of the province’s most esteemed estate litigation lawyers. He has spent more than 40 years helping the disinherited contest wills and transfers – and win. From his Kerrisdale office, which looks more like an eclectic art gallery than a lawyer’s office, Trevor empowers claimants and restores dignity to families across BC. He is a mentor to young entrepreneurs and an art buff who supports starving artists the world over. He has an eye for talent and a heart for giving back.

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