WESA and the New Rules: Is Your Estates Practice Ready? 2013

Course Date: November 21, 2013

Day 1—Estate Planning

Welcome and Introduction

  • highlights
  • transition issues

Fiona Hunter — Horne Coupar, Victoria
Roger D. Lee — Davis LLP, Vancouver
Helen H. Low — Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, Vancouver

Effective Courtroom Presentation

The Honourable Madam Justice Sandra K. Ballance — Supreme Court of BC, Vancouver
The Honourable Madam Justice D. Jane Dardi — Supreme Court of BC, Vancouver

Family Law Act Overview

  • guardianship and parental responsibilities
  • definition of spouse, including common law spouse
  • termination date/separation date
  • who is a parent/reproductive technology/posthumous births
  • property division regime

Mary E. Mouat, QC — Lawyer and Mediator, Quadra Legal Centre, Victoria

Networking Break

Drafting Techniques and Tips Under WESA

  • revocation of prior wills and testamentary dispositions
  • appointment of guardians
  • reproductive technology issues
  • dealing with powers of appointment in the will maker’s property
  • when to define “spouse” in a will
  • new WESA terms to consider
  • considerations when making specific gifts of personal property, cash, or land
  • gifts of land and tangible personal property which are subject to security interests
  • ensuring that new survivorship rules do not adversely affect client’s intended dispositions
  • social media and internet profile—canvassing people’s online presence and how it is to be dealt with after death

Moderator:  Fiona Hunter — Horne Coupar, Victoria
Mary B. Hamilton — Davis LLP, Vancouver
Genevieve N. Taylor — Legacy Tax + Trust Lawyers, Vancouver
Carmen S. Thériault, QC — Bull, Housser & Tupper LLP, Vancouver

Networking Lunch

Beneficiary Plans

  • appointment of trustee on benefit plans
  • practical implementation issues (vis a vis plan administrators)
  • comparing designations by power of attorney

Geoffrey W. White — Geoffrey W. White Law Corporation, Kelowna
Kevin J. Zakreski — BC Law Institute, Vancouver

Multi-Jurisdictional Wills and Conflicts

  • drafting considerations/techniques/tips
  • the new conflicts rules

Kenneth N. Burnett — Miller Thomson LLP, Vancouver
Professor Elizabeth Edinger — Faculty of Law at Allard Hall, University of BC, Vancouver 

Practice Issues (includes 15 minute networking break)

  • file management
  • duty owed to existing/past clients to inform them about WESA
  • client alerts
    • risk of unintentional alterations
    • revocations under WESA
    • statutory changes affecting existing will for a living client
  • due diligence in ascertaining client’s circumstances 
  • risk management
  • tests for undue influence
  • what may constitute a testamentary instrument under s. 58 WESA
    • what records must be kept by lawyer
    • what documents must executors find and disclose
  • engagement letters, acting jointly, ending retainers
  • construction issues under the new rules of evidence: what a litigator may look for

Moderator:  Helen H. Low — Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, Vancouver
James D. Baird — Boughton Law Corporation, Vancouver
Kirsten H. Jenkins — Bull, Housser & Tupper LLP, Vancouver
Megan Swail — Lawyers Insurance Fund, Law Society of BC, Vancouver

Day 2—Estate Administration and Estate Litigation

Opening Remarks

Fiona Hunter — Horne Coupar, Victoria
Roger D. Lee — Davis LLP, Vancouver
Helen H. Low — Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, Vancouver

Estate Administration Under WESA

Highlights of WESA changes to estate administration practices including

  • saving gifts to witnesses
  • property subject to security interests
  • lapsed gifts
  • ademption
  • abatement
  • notice to creditors
  • distribution hold period
  • ordering of claims against insolvent estates

Richard T. Weiland — Clark Wilson LLP, Vancouver

Powers and Obligations of Personal Representatives

  • initial advice to a personal representative
  • statutory powers of personal representatives
  • discharge and substitution of personal representatives
  • proof in solemn form
  • WVA proceedings

Amy D. Francis — Legacy Tax +Trust Lawyers, Vancouver

Rights of Beneficiaries and Claimants

  • applications for accountings and directions
  • bringing or defending a claim on behalf of the estate
  • appointing a person to conduct proceeding
  • removing personal representatives

Rhys Davies, QC — Davis LLP, Vancouver

Networking Break

Curative Dispensing Provisions and Rectification

  • power of court to dispense with consequences of formal defects in execution and attestation
    • the use of the dispensing power in other jurisdictions
    • determining the evidence to meet the legal test
  • rectification of wills
    • changes in the evidence for rectification application
    • practical use of the rectification power

Gregory G. Blue, QC — BC Law Institute, Vancouver
Andrew S. MacKay — Alexander Holburn Beaudin + Lang LLP, Vancouver


  • intestate succession
  • spousal shares
  • spousal home
  • parentelic distribution

Hugh S. McLellan — McLellan Herbert, Vancouver

Networking Lunch

New Probate Rules

  • highlights of changes
  • transition issues
  • small estates—not being brought into force
  • overview of new procedures
    • who may apply
    • notice
    • probate applications
    • administration applications (including will annexed and special types of applications)
    • disclosure of assets/authorizations to obtain financial information
  • limitation periods
  • notice of dispute (caveats), citations, subpoenas

Tyler Nyvall — Legal Counsel, Civil Policy and Legislation Office, Justice Services Branch, Ministry of Justice, Victoria
D. Peter Ramsay, QC — Ramsay Lampman Rhodes, Nanaimo

Networking Break

Estate Accounts and Claims for Remuneration

  • passing of accounts under the new Probate Rules
  • remuneration of trustees and personal representatives
  • changes to procedures and forms
  • costs

M. Scott Kerwin — Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, Vancouver

PGT Issues

  • what PGT will require in probate applications
  • when and how PGT will address gifts and legacies for minors
  • PGT’s role in spousal home claims
  • PGT’s position on ademption by nominees
  • PGT’s fees for estate matters

Karl A. Maier — Public Guardian and Trustee of BC, Vancouver

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