WESA # 17 – Marriage Will No Longer Revoke a Prior Will

Marriage Will No Longer Revoke a Prior Will

For many decades now, marriage was able to revoke a prior will unless the will was made in contemplation of marriage to that future spouse. This was generally not known to the public and undoubtedly caused much hardship  in the form of unintended intestacy’s, or  unintended revocations of  wills.

Plus given the fact that so many couples now cohabit rather than legally marry, it simply made no sense to continue on with this law .

A marriage occurring on or after March 31, 2014 will no longer revoke a will,  as  section 15 of the current Wills Act currently provides.

Under section 16 of the current  Wills Act, if a spouse made a will leaving a gift to the other spouse,  and the spouses then divorced, the gift that spouse in the will would be revoked , subject to a contrary intention expressed in the will .

This will continue to be the case under WESA,  but section 56 goes further to state  that  again subject to a contrary intention expressed in the will , a gift to someone who is or becomes a spouse  is revoked if ” after the will is made in before the will maker’s death, the will maker and his or her spouse ceased to be spouses under section 2(2)

With respect to married spouses, a separation will be sufficient to revoke a gift in a will, because section 81 (B)of the family law act  provides that ” on separation, each spouse has a right to an undivided half interest in all family property –”


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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