Section 58 WESA: Journal Not a Will

Section 58 WESA: Journal Not a Will

Re Hadley Estate 2016 BCSC 765 held that an unwitnessed  journal entry written by the deceased in her daily entry and stated to be  ” my last will”  will, was not in fact her last valid will under the curative provisions of section 58 WESA.

This decision was upheld on appeal- see Hadley Estate 2017 BCCA 311.

The administrator of her estate brought an application under section 58 of  the wills estates succession act, WESA  for determination. If the September 2014 journal entry was a will or  was a 2008 will the last valid will .

After reviewing several factors both pro con, the court found that the following rambling  journal entry was not a valid will:

[p. 1]
Sept. 1, 2014 Monday Tonight @ 8.30 pm I believe I had a something [?] to me. I am confused now. 9 pm. At 6 pm I went to English Bay & watched the sunset – talked to the life guard – at 8 pm I walked home – used my walker. I pushed my walker along Davie St to the Cardero Mini park in front of our our [sic] building – Seacrest Apt. Sat on my walker – At 8 pm I went inside “Seacrest – parked my walker inside the locker room & went up the stairs to my suite [ . . . ] Suddenly I had huge flashes in both my eyes – Zig Zag flashes like a up & down like a chart. – I could not could not see – the flashes were very bright – very strong – I tried to see I had no-one to phone Ginger phoned me – All was well – My niece lives in Windsor Ontario Mrs. Virginia Maziak-[phone no. omitted] I am somewhat dizzy now I had a terrible experience / frightening experience / flashes now. I ate a chocolate bar – [ ? ] glass peach cider – walked up & down my suite – scary. I hoped this would help me [ ? ]. [Suite no. ] Bullies me every day.
[p. 2]
Continued
September 1, 2014.. Monday.
This is my last Will.
Because of the daily harassment by [individuals at Seacrest]. I have been unable to [?] my personal needs – thus I put off seeing a lawyer to sue them & Seacrest Company Shareholders & to change my will. As of this time in my life I leave all my estate (my money in bonds & my apartment #205 Seacrest Apts. Ltd. Company – self owned to the following people who were kind to me (1) My niece Virginia Maziak who live lives in Windsor Ontario @ [address omitted]. Virginia (Ginger) was continually kind to me. (2) Bruce Macdonald — [phone no. omitted] Because he contributed so much to save the Hollow Tree in Stanley Park and was kind to me. (3) Daniel Pierce [phone no. omitted] a young Film Producer who worked so hard and was kind to me. It is not common knowledge that I am an orphan as a child. I have no heirs. My husband John Donald Hadley died and so did my only child – Karen Margaret Hadley. I struggled all my life to work and save some money to be independent. I have no debts. I have some bills to pay now – Seacrest Co. Apartment 1947 must pay for repairs, windows, ceiling walls, etc.
[p. 3]
Continued Eleanor Lena Hadley (Sanchuk) born Sept. 15, 1921
I hope to see Mr. David Ebby in person to write this will. I just had a scare – that prompted me to hastily [?] write this will. Many people have helped me. However [illegible] for personal reasons they are not included in my will.
Also, I do have some old penny stocks that faded away and in my box (deposit) Royal Bank corner of West Georgia & Burrard Streets where my previous will is.
I live in Seacrest Apts. ltd at the present time. Since 1997 I have been bullied & harassed & denied my entitlements by [individuals named]. They should be sued for destroying 17 years of my life. So that I am living in fear to this day. I could not sell my suite because [individual named] in 1997 put an a unhealthy dryer vent for the whole building (Seacrest) under my kitchen windows
11.20A.M. EH
[p. 4]
My will Continued:
Re: If Mr. David Ebby is willing I would like him to sue all the Seacrest Shareholders named in this will for criminally destroying my life since 1997 when [individual named] unlawfully all the Seacrest Co 20 Shareholders Basic Rate a/os [?] 1947 Original Agreement – I have the original Memorandum. Because of ill health due to daily harassment by those named in my will I was and am presently too ill physically to go to court. I tried this [?] in the Small Court. At that time Judge Gee Gee said – that I was in the wrong Court. I do not have the original Court Trial documents (only the edited document which omits my complaints entirely. Why Judge Gee did this is a puzzle to me. Also my lawyer [individual and firm named] failed to present my case. Because of the daily harassment by [individuals named] to this day I was & am unable to bring my case to trial again. These 3 people / shareholders / Seacrest have also used the computer to [illegible] my name and [illegible] a fake document.

THE  LAW

The curative provisions of section 58 conferred discretion on the court to relieve against the consequences of noncompliance  with the  testamentary formalities  in a “record, document or writing or marking on a will or document”.
In prescribed the circumstances, section 58 permits the court to address and your issues of formal invalidity  in such documents .
The leading case In British Columbia is Estate of young  2015 BC SC 182 .
Young followed the law  of Manitoba in their leading case of George v.  Daily (  1997)  143 DLR (4th) 273  ( Man. CA), which stated :
51      Because of the similarity between s. 58 and the curative provision in Manitoba’s Wills Act, C.C.S.M., c. W-150, in Young, Dickson J. (as she then was) reviewed a number of Manitoba authorities, including the leading case of George v. Daily (1997), 143 D.L.R. (4th) 273 (Man. C.A.). She then wrote by way of summary (at paras. 34-37) [underlining added]:
[34] As is apparent from the foregoing, a determination of whether to exercise the court’s curative power with respect to a non-compliant document is inevitably and intensely fact-sensitive. Two principal issues for consideration emerge from the post-1995 Manitoba authorities. The first [is] an obvious threshold issue: is the document authentic? The second, and core, issue is whether the non-compliant document represents the deceased’s testamentary intentions, as that concept was explained in George.
[35] In George the court confirmed that testamentary intention means much more than the expression of how a person would like his or her property to be disposed of after death. The key question is whether the document records a deliberate or fixed and final expression of intention as to the disposal of the deceased’s property on death. A deliberate or fixed and final intention is not the equivalent of an irrevocable intention, given that a will, by its nature, is revocable until the death of its maker. Rather, the intention must be fixed and final at the material time, which will vary depending on the circumstances.
[36] The burden of proof that a non-compliant document embodies the deceased’s testamentary intentions is a balance of probabilities. A wide range of factors may be relevant to establishing their existence in a particular case. Although context specific, these factors may include the presence of the deceased’s signature, the deceased’s handwriting, witness signatures, revocation of previous wills, funeral arrangements, specific bequests and the title of the document: [citations omitted].
[37] While imperfect or even non-compliance with formal testamentary requirements may be overcome by application of a sufficiently broad curative provision, the further a document departs from the formal requirements the harder it may be for the court to find it embodies the deceased’s testamentary intention: George at para. 81.
52      Extrinsic evidence is admissible when considering whether a document is a valid will and whether the deceased had testamentary intent: see Yaremkewich Estate (Re), 2015 BCSC 1124, at paras. 31-32. Watchuk J. observed further (after reviewing Young and George), at para. 37:

 

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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