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Our friends on the west coast are getting ready for major changes to the law of inheritance. The British Columbia legislature passed the Wills, Estates, and Succession Act (the “WESA”) on September 24, 2009. The Act comes into force on March 31, 2014. The WESA replaces B.C.’s current legislation, the Wills Act. The text of the bill is available here. It should be noted, however, that there have been a few amendments, and the WESA will look a little bit different when it comes into force.
The new bill has a number of notable effects on inheritance law in British Columbia. These are just a few:
If you live in B.C., have a B.C. will, or own property in that province, your will should continue to be valid, but you may want to see a lawyer and revisit your estate plan to ensure that the WESA doesn’t affect its meaning or effect.
Ontario’s legislation, the Succession Law Reform Act, has undergone amendments, but is substantially the same as it was when first enacted in 1978. Perhaps the WESA will inspire Ontario to update its own legislation in the future.