Blog: Wills and Estates

Estate Dispute Awards $1.4 million to BC SPCA

A recent decision of the British Columbia Supreme Court is a good reminder that Wills should be regularly reviewed by their makers to be sure they reflect his or her current wishes; and if not, a new Will or codicil should be prepared and executed as quickly as possible.

In a decision handed down last week, Justice MacNaughton held that a Vancouver woman’s estate had to be distributed pursuant to her 2013 Will, and not according to a handwritten note she made at some later date and left with the Will in a lockbox in her home.

The 2013 Will…

Effect of Marriage on your Will

In British Columbia, it used to be the case that a Will made prior to marriage was automatically revoked on the marriage of the will-maker. However, since the Wills, Estates and Succession Act came into force in 2014, marriage no longer has this effect in our province.

Seven years later, Ontario is following suit. A bill repealing the section of Ontario’s Succession Law Reform Act which set out that a will was revoked by marriage received royal asset on April 19, 2021.

These changes reflect the modern world, where increasing numbers of people in Canada have children from prior relationships…

Update on Remote Execution of Wills in BC

We previously reported on how the Government of British Columbia responded to COVID-19 by temporarily allowing the remote execution of Wills, setting out the requirements for doing so in a ministerial order that is only applicable so long as the Provincial State of Emergency is in effect (see our previous blog post of June 17, 2020).

We are pleased to advise that the Government of British Columbia introduced legislation last week to make remote execution of Wills a permanent fixture in this province.

If it passes, Bill 21 – 2020 will amend the Wills, Estates, and Succession Act,…


We previously commented on this blog that the laws of British Columbia had not been relaxed to allow for remote or “virtual” execution of Wills, Powers of Attorney, and Representation Agreements during the COVID-19 pandemic (see our posts of April 29, 2020 and May 1, 2020).

That has now changed. The Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General has now issued ministerial orders with respect to the remote execution of Wills, Powers of Attorney, and Representation Agreements in British Columbia.

These orders are effective May 19, 2020, until the current Provincial State of Emergency is over. At the…

COVID-19: I Can’t Get Two Witnesses for My Will, Help!

UPDATE – this post is now out of date. Please see our updated post of May 21, 2020

As discussed in a previous post on this blog; while some other provinces have relaxed the in-person witnessing requirements for estate planning documents at this time, British Columbia has not. If you get creative, will-makers can fulfil these requirements while still respecting social distancing protocols. However, for those required to self-isolate strict compliance will be impossible. They simply won’t be able to execute their Will in the presence of two witnesses. What’s a would-be will-maker to do?

Will-makers can…

COVID-19: Executing a Will in a Pandemic

UPDATE – this post is now out of date. Please see our updated post of May 21, 2020

With reports of the COVID-19 pandemic prompting floods of people to update their Wills, or finally write one, just how easy is it to comply with the formal requirements for making a Will during the current state of emergency?

For a Will made in British Columbia to be valid, it needs to be signed by the will-maker in the presence of two witnesses, who both need to sign too (still in each other and the will-maker’s presence).  There are strict rules…

Probate in BC during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The current COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically altered the day-to-day operations of the British Columbia Supreme Court. The British Columbia Supreme Court suspended all regular operations as of March 19, 2020, and adjourned all non-urgent matters until May 29, 2020, or until the Court directs otherwise. Please review the most current Court updates here.


The Courts perform many important functions, including probating wills as part of the administration of an estate. In granting probate, the Court certifies that the will, or document submitted as a will, is valid and confirms the appointment of the executor(s). A grant of probate…