Can An Unwitnessed Will be Valid?

Unwitnessed Will Valid

Section 58 WESA was once again successfully used in Re Litke Estate 2017 BCSC 1079 to find a hand written unwitnessed signed “will-like” document to be a valid will. Such documents are now routinely found valid by the courts if certain criteria are met. The… Read more

Lawyer Duty Taking Will Instructions: Suspicious Circumstances

Lawyer Duty Taking Will Instructions: Suspicious Circumstances

The duty of a lawyer/solicitor  in taking will instructions when suspicious circumstances are present was discussed in Shroff v Schroff 2017 MBQB 51. Suspicious Circumstances Suspicious circumstances have been found to exist in a wide array of situations and are not necessarily sinister in nature. There is… Read more

Fraudulent Wills

Fraudulent Wills: Vancouver Sun Article

The Vancouver Sun published an article I wrote on the increased risk of fraudulent wills that may occur under WESA. The B.C. inheritance-and-estate law brought in two years ago has increased the risk of forged and fraudulent wills, says a lawyer involved in the debate… Read more

Burden of Proof In Mental Capacity

Burden of Proof In Mental Capacity

Becker v Becker 2016 BCSC 487 nicely summarizes much of the law relating to mental capacity aka testamentary capacity including the law re the burden of proof in mental capacity cases.  THE  LAW 51      The burden of proving testamentary capacity is on the party propounding… Read more

BC CEAS Is a Wealth of Free Legal Information On Elder Law

The BC Centre For Elder Advocacy and Support (BC CEAS) website contains a Wealth of Free Legal Information on Elder Law Issues.   I have taken the liberty of copying their excellent article on basic Power of Attorney information as an example of the quality… Read more

Court Costs In Estate Litigation

It is very old fashioned thinking that court costs come out of the estate , win or lose, as costs are now an important factor in settlement considerations.   The decision Deuschmann Estate v Fallis  2011 BCSC 1009 at paragraph 95 sets out the general… Read more

Son May Not Inherit For Murdering Mother

Re Fenotti Estate 2014 BCSC 1533 reviewed the law and held that a murderer of the deceased, his mother, son may not inherit from her as a result of public policy that prevents a wrong doer from benefiting from his or her own crime. The personal… Read more

“Sham” Trusts

Plaintiff’s often allege that a purported trust is a sham trust that the courts should ignore. The following is the criteria that the courts utilize when dealing with such an assertion as was discussed in M. Dhaliwal Holdings Inc. v. Pacific Blue Farms Ltd. ,… Read more

How to Sever a Joint Tenancy With a Co Owner

A prospective client called yesterday inquiring whether three siblings who had joint tenancy with a fourth sibling, can force a sale so as to buy out the troublemaking fourth sibling. I answered yes,  as the Partition of Property act allows for a severance of the… Read more

The Formalities of a Valid Marriage

The Formalities of a Valid Marriage    45 If the parties to a marriage, solemnized in good faith and intended to be in compliance with the legislation, are not under a legal disqualification to contract such marriage and have lived together and cohabited as a… Read more

Seniors-Avoid Joint Bank Accounts

I have seen many seniors financially abused by setting up a joint bank account with a child/caregiver/neighbour/friend  who takes advantage to the point where I advise seniors to avoid their use. I recently came across a Maclean’s magazine article dated April 4, 2011 entitled “Signing… Read more

The Partition Act -Courts Order Co-Owned Property Sold

Whether property be owned as tenants in common, or as joint tenants, if the parties cannot agree on the sale of the property, the BC Court has the power to do so under the provisions of the Partition of Property Act RSBC. The jurisdiction to… Read more

1961 SCC Case Holds an Unregistered Transfer of Land Severs a Joint Tenancy

Sever JT SCC stonehouse. 1961 CarswellBC 159, 37 W.W.R. 62, [1962] S.C.R. 103, 31 D.L.R. (2d) 118 Stonehouse v. British Columbia (Attorney General) Stonehouse (Plaintiff) Appellant v. Attorney-General of British Columbia (Defendant) Respondent Supreme Court of Canada Judgment: December 15, 1961 Family Law — Family… Read more

Seniors Beware of Care For Life Agreements

Seniors often fall victim to the best of intentioned Care For Life Agreements with a child, that often turn disastrous. I was recently retained by a senior who advanced over $400,000.00 to his only son and his wife. He did so on the understanding they… Read more

Delusions and Testamentary Capacity

Delusions are often overlooked as a cause for lack of mental capacity. I was recently retained by a sister of a deceased person who advised that in her opinion, she had been disinherited from her late brother’s will as a result of his cocaine abuse…. Read more