Mistakes In Wills and How To Fix Them

    Mistakes in wills are frequently made and then subsequently not discovered until typically many years later after the passing of the will maker. The usual types of mistakes  break into two areas- that the will was not properly executed in accordance with established… Read more

Interest Is Claimable on Lump Sum Wills Variation Awards

While it is much more common for courts to award a percentage of the residue of an estate to a wills variation claimant, it does on occasion occur where the court will order a lump sum award which may include interest..   That is a… Read more

Court Divides Estate Equally Between Son and Neighbours -Wills Variation Act

The Court Divides  Estate Equally Between Disinherited son and a long time friendly neighbour in wills variation action: Moore v. Drummond, 2013 BCSC 1762   [4] The new will, dated January 18, 2010, said : 7. My reasons for providing for my neighbours, CASEY MOORE and CLARA… Read more

contemplation of marriage

Will In Contemplation of Marriage

Prior to the WESA legislation in BC prior to  March 31, 2014 a marriage revoked an existing  will unless the  will was made in contemplation of marriage.   The BC Appeal court in MacLean Estate v. Christiansen, 2010 BCCA 374dealt with the matter.   The BCCA… Read more

Where There Is a Cult, There Is Undue Influence

Undue Influence and Cults In recent years there have been a rash of news stories about people who have escaped from various cults, sects, communes or other extremely private organizations ,such as Scientology. Today’s news brings the story of a Marxist commune in South London… Read more

The Doctrine of Ademption By Conversion

  The doctrine of ademption by conversion — a rule of the law of wills whereby a specific bequest “adeems”, or fails, if at the testator’s death the specified property is not found among his or her assets — either because the testator has parted… Read more

Legacies – General or Specific

Re Wood Estate 2004 BCCA 556, contains a good discussion on the differences between general and specific bequests, aka legacies. There are generally two classes of legacies — specific and general. Halsbury’s Laws of England (4th ed. 1998) describes the categories as follows: A specific… Read more

BC Court Rules Sperm Freezer at UBC Was Like a “Warehouse Rental”

  Lam vs the University of British Columbia 2013BCSC 2094, involved a class-action suit brought by hundreds of sperm donors that had stored their sperm with the defendant University, and their sperm was damaged as a result of the sperm freezer malfunctioning. At issue was… Read more

30 Year Commonlaw Spouse Awarded $150,000 More Than His Half of the Assets

Griese v Syvret 2013 BCSC 1601 is a wills very action trial involving a couple that lived in a commonlaw relationship for 30 years before the death of the commonlaw spouse in 2010 at age 84. Her major asset was the matrimonial home which they both… Read more

What Happens to Your Data After You Die?

Reprinted From Forbes Magazine. When you die, you’ll leave behind a digital presence – dead data, or a graveyard in the cloud. The only things certain in life are death and data. Data After You Die? Every year, Facebook cheerfully suggests I reconnect with some friends… Read more

Taking Instructions and Testamentary Capacity

Will makers must always conduct an assessment of mental capacity when taking will instructions. In 1992 I was Plaintiff’s counsel in the decision Mikita v. Lick. The action involved a 10 day trial, in which I succeeded in setting aside a will and transfer, prepared… Read more

What Is a Testamentary Document?

It is often difficult to determine if a document is testamentary or not when it purportedly takes effect upon death. Shortly before writing this article, I settled a Wills Variation action on the eve of trial where the deceased had deliberately used an estate planning… Read more

Lost Wills

Lost Wills An update to this article is that since the introduction of WESA on April 1, 2014, I anticipate that the courts will be more willing to allow copies of wills as proof of the testator’s intention to more easily admissible into probate. Many… Read more

Forfeiture Clauses in Wills

Bellinger v. Fayers, Nuytten  2003  BCSC  563 discussed inter alia forfeiture clauses in wills On June 11, 2002, Justice Hood handed down Reasons for Judgment, subsequent to the trial reasons,  in the case of Bellinger v. Fayers, Nuytten. In this case I represented the plaintiff,… Read more

The Cy-Pres Doctrine

Those of us living in Vancouver know Children’s Hospital–surely that goes without saying. Check a little closer, however, and you may be surprised to learn that no such legal entity exists. In estate law it is relatively common to discover that a charitable institution, named… Read more