Vancouver Lawyers Publish Follow Up to What Makes a Will

VANCOUVER, BC—(Marketwired – August 31, 2017) – The litigation lawyers at Kushner Law recently published a blog that discussed the requirements for creating a valid will as laid out by the Wills Estates and Succession Act. Their new follow–up explores why validity is key by exploring the case of the Litke Estate (Re), 2017 BCSC 1079, in which the Honourable Justice N. Brown heard an application from a person named as an executor in a will–like document that did not comply with the formal requirements. For more, go to: http://kushnerlaw.ca/vancouver–lawyers–makes–will–part–2/

In this case, the document was written by hand and titled “My Will and Testament.” The document was not signed by any witnesses, however, and the Court made the following observations about the document:

[14] There are no indicia of frailty in the handwriting. I find it noteworthy the will–like letter was inserted inside a self–help guide. The maker of the will–like document called it her Last Will and Testament.
[15] There is no place for a witness to sign. The document exhibits a logical structure with some real property disposed of in one part, charitable dispositions made in another, personal items in another part. She referred to one bank account shared with “Sharon.”

Mr. Justice Brown went on to review a number of decisions in British Columbia which have considered this issue, and made the observation that analysis under Section 58 of WESA is heavily fact–based. The Court then made the following determinations:

[43] I find the writing in the will–like document dated December 21, 2009 is the handwriting of the deceased, Anne Litke, and is a valid document.
[44] Ms. Litke died at age 94, on August 13, 2016, about seven years after the December 21, 2009 date on the will–like document. There is no evidence she was in ill health at the time. But she was about 84 years old; an age when one could reasonably expect a person to put their minds to their final testamentary intentions. There is no indication of undue influence or that she was other than of sound mind at the time.
[45] As mentioned above, her handwriting was firm, legible, well formed, and attractive; some care apparently taken, not a scribbling of random thoughts.
[46] She appointed two executors, her daughter and her daughter's husband to act as her advisory helper, not attorneys, which suggests she was thinking in final testamentary terms, not about her personal care needs.

However, because the document did not meet formal requirements, it was found to be invalid, which meant property could be divided in a way that was not intended by the testator. To help safeguard interests and intentions, it's important to make a will that meets all formal legal requirements. The Estate and litigation lawyers at Kushner have the experience to safeguard their clients' interests.

To learn more, contact Kushner Law Group 604–629–0432 to schedule a consultation.

About the Company

The Kushner Law Group was founded on the principle that a small law firm should be able to offer the same level of legal advice as a big firm at an affordable cost. A unique combination of legal experience and creativity allows the professionals at Kushner to come up with creative and practical solutions for a variety of legal problems.

For additional information, please visit http://kushnerlaw.ca/ or call 604–629–0432.

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