Wills, Estates & Succession Act Resource Centre
Welcome to CLEBC's WESA Resource Centre
This portal connects legal professionals in BC with information and resources on the new Wills, Estates and Succession Act (WESA), which comes into force on March 31, 2014.
The Continuing Legal Education Society of BC is working with the BC Law Institute (BCLI) to keep legal professionals up-to-date on the legislation and Probate rules.
The new probate rules and forms under the Wills, Estates and Succession Act (the “WESA”) are amended by OIC 132, 2014, approved on March 27, 2014 (after the earlier OIC 126 was deemed a nullity, due to a technical issue). Most amendments come into effect on March 30; the others are effective on March 31—the date on which the WESA and the new rules and forms take effect. The amendments appear here; they are generally housekeeping amendments.
CLEBC will update the probate forms (including the Word versions) to reflect these amendments on the online versions of both the WESA Transition Guide and the British Columbia Probate and Estate Administration Practice Manual. We hope to have the amended online forms available within the next week to 10 days. The online versions of these publications are included in the price of your subscription. If you have not already arranged your user name and password, call our customer service department at 604.893.2121, or toll-free at 1.800.663.0437.
We will also work to incorporate these amendments, and additional pending amendments to the WESA (described immediately below), into the WESA Transition Guide and the British Columbia Probate and Estate Administration Practice Manual, after the WESA amendments come into force. We expect only small updates of these publications will be needed to keep practitioners up to date.
Justice Statutes Amendment Act, 2014—WESA Amendments Now in Force
The Justice Statutes Amendment Act, 2014. S.B.C. 2014, c. 9, was introduced in the Legislature on March 4, 2014. The Act contains amendments for several provincial statutes, including the Wills, Estates and Succession Act (the “WESA”). Sections 50 to 70 of the Act, amending the WESA, came into force on April 9, 2014 (the date of Royal Assent), pursuant to s. 74 of the Act. Most other provisions of the amending Act will come into force by regulation.
The Justice Statutes Amendment Act, 2014 was introduced into the legislature on March 4. The Act contains proposed amendments for several provincial statutes, including the Wills, Estates and Succession Act.
Read about the proposed amendments at https://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/2014/03/justice-statutes-bill-introduced.html, or see the electronic version of the Justice Statues Amenedment Act at http://www.leg.bc.ca/40th2nd/1st_read/gov14-1.htm
This clip discusses Estate Administration, focusing on how to go about getting a grant to deal with an estate under the WESA. It clarifies some provisions of Part 6 of the WESA, including the priority of administrators as set-up in the legislation. This is an excerpt from from CLEBC's CLE-TV program "WESA - A Discussion of the Important Changes." Register here for the full CLE-TV rebroadcast on January 28.
Fiona Hunter was a co-chair at the recent CLEBC conference, WESA and the New Rules: Is Your Estates Practice Ready? She highlights some of the most important aspects of the WESA and some key areas to be aware of.
The new Wills Estates and Succession Act is a consolidation of long standing succession laws. It also contains many new provisions which will take time to incorporate into a wills and estate practice, particularly where the courts will need to interpret the legislative intent.
There are too many important aspects to the WESA to summarize here, but here are some examples.
• For solicitors and litigators alike, an area of particular concern is the curative and rectification powers of the courts found in sections 57 and 59 of the WESA. These provisions must change the way we practice law in the area of wills and all current procedures in both the drafting and the proving of wills should be reviewed.
• For drafters, navigating the new survivorship provisions in Part 3, Division 2 will be a challenge in the short term. There will be new opportunities to assist clients with designation of trustees for benefit plans found in Part 5 of the WESA, but the devil will be in the details.
• For litigators, a careful review of section 4 (which deals with construction of instruments) and the time lines for wills variation claims (found in section 61) should be a priority.
Until a body of case law and custom develops, the Wills, Estates and Succession Act Transition Guide is an essential resource for anyone practicing in this area.