New court precedent: are those documents a Will?
For the first time in history, a B.C. Court has considered the part of the Wills, Estates and Succession Act designed to “cure” a deficiency in the Testamentary documents of a deceased person.
One of the reasons that the government changed our centuries-old law in this area is to enable the expression of a person’s real intentions with respect to their Estates, even if they did not express those intentions in the “right way.”
This case is known as Estate of Young, and reasons for judgement were released recently.
The deceased passed away last summer, and had made a Will. But the Executor later found two other documents at her home. One was signed, and the other was not.
The signed one indicated a chosen distribution of personal property to six people. The unsigned document named a friend of the deceased to handle the distribution of the property.
The Court held that the facts of each case will determine whether the Court will exercise its power to “cure.” If the document represents a deliberate, fixed and final expression of intention, it may be cured.
The signed document was held to be a Testamentary document, while the unsigned was not.
In my opinion, this case tell us that Courts will consider “deficient” documents, which is important. In the coming years, I expect Courts will develop tests to help determine which documents may be saved.
This ad ran in the Richmond Review on February 20, 2015.