BC’s Wills & Estates Law To Be Modernized in 2014

April 2, 2013

Now that BC’s family law has been completely overhauled, the province has their sights set next on wills and estate laws. The Ministry of Justice has set a date for the coming into force of the new Wills, Estates and Succession Act (WESA).

“WESA will come into force officially on March 31, 2014, modernizing B.C.’s current laws – which have provisions dating back to the 1800s – on inheritance and succession planning. By streamlining seven outdated acts into one single act, the new law will make estate planning easier for the general public to understand.”

New probate rules will come into force at the same time.

The legislation was passed back in 2009 (see the 3rd Reading version here), and

  • “clarifies the process of inheritance when a person dies without leaving a will;
  • makes the process easier for a person to transfer the title of their spousal home when their spouse dies;
  • clearly outlines the sequence in which to look for heirs to a person’s estate;
  • provides the courts with more latitude to ensure a deceased person’s last wishes will be respected;
  • clarifies obligations relating to property inheritance in the context of Nisga’a and Treaty First Nation lands; and
  • lowers the minimum age at which a person can make a will from 19 to 16 years old.”

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