In 2014 British Columbia implemented changes to its wills and estates legislation.
One of the provisions of the Wills, Estates, and Succession Act means that documents which do not comply with the formal requirements for the creation and execution of a valid will may be found to be fully effective as a testamentary document provided a court is satisfied the document is authentic and represents the true testamentary intentions of the deceased person. This legislation empowers the Province’s courts to cure deficiencies of an invalid will and to make orders that prior wills or other testamentary documents are revoked or altered. Further, the testamentary intentions of a deceased person could be determined to have been expressed in a wide range of documents, including handwritten notes and electronic documents, such as email or text message.
It is important for executors of estates to broaden their search efforts when looking for testamentary documents.
These provisions also raise important issues from an estate litigation perspective because in cases where there are multiple testamentary documents it presents the potential for broader arguments, more potential beneficiaries, and more complex issues for the court to decide.
Despite these curative provisions, it remains important and advisable to have a validly executed will. This is the best means to ensure your wishes are respected. This is also likely to save your family and loved ones stress, time, and money.
If you have questions about wills and estates or have concerns regarding how someone’s estate is being administered, it a good idea to seek legal advice.
Need help navigating estate and wills legislation?
If you have questions about wills and estates or have concerns regarding how someone’s estate is being administered it a good idea to seek legal advice. Our estate lawyers are here to help. Call us at 250.565.8000 or contact us online to request a call-back.