The Wills, Estates and Succession Act (“WESA”) comes into force on March 31, 2014. At the same time, the Supreme Court Civil Rules (the “Rules”) related to probate and estate administration are being amended to “reflect the changes brought about by the enactment of the Wills, Estates and Succession Act and to generally modernize the application process”. The BC government recently released a document that summarizes and explains the amendments to the Rules (http://www.ag.gov.bc.ca/legislation/wills-estates-succession-act/pdf/SC_ProbateRules_Part25.pdf). Here are some of the highlights:
- The executor must provide a notice of intention to apply for a grant 21 days before filing the application. Assuming the deceased had a Will, notice must be given to:
- Each person named as executor or alternate executor in the Will;
- Each beneficiary under the Will; and
- Each person who would have been an intestate successor (person who benefits from the estate) if the deceased had not left a Will.
- Procedures have been added to deal with curing formal defects in a Will. WESA gives the court discretion to cure formal defects in a Will, which is something the court does not currently have the power to do.
- The application forms have been redone. For example, when applying for a grant of probate under WESA, a person can use a short form or long form depending on the complexity of the application.
- There are new court documents that will allow the person who obtained the grant of probate (or other related grant) to obtain information about the assets and liabilities of the deceased from third parties.
The above is a summary overview of some changes. In future blog posts we will highlight in greater detail particular changes brought on by WESA and the corresponding amendments to the Rules. Thanks for reading.