Introduction to Wills and Estate Administration (16:I)

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This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by the Law Students' Legal Advice Program on July 8, 2022.

This chapter provides a summary of will preparation and estate administration procedure. In this chapter, any reference to a court is to the BC Supreme Court, unless otherwise stated.

The Wills, Estates and Succession Act, SBC 2009, c 13 [WESA], came into force on 31 March 2014. WESA substantially revised wills and estates law in BC by repealing and consolidating the Estate Administration Act, RSBC 1996, c 122; the Probate Recognition Act, RSBC 1996, c 376; the Wills Act, RSBC 1996, c 489; and the Wills Variation Act, RSBC 1996, c 490.

WESA now applies to all wills in BC if the deceased dies on or after 31 March 2014, except where:

  • The will was validly made before WESA comes into force, but would be invalid under WESA; or
  • The will was revoked before WESA comes into force (i.e. WESA will not revive validly revoked wills);

If you are seeking legal advice on an existing will, remember that except for sections 16, 25 30 and 44(3), the Wills Act applies only to wills made after 31 March 1960 (section 44(1)).

WESA also applies to estates where there is no valid will, known as an “intestacy”.

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