What is a Valid Will in BC?

Jan 15, 2018

Pursuant to the Wills, Estates and Succession Act, S.B.C. 2009, c. 13 (“WESA”), ss. 36-40:

  • the will must be in writing;
  • the will must be signed at its end by the will-maker;
  • the signature must be made or acknowledged by the will-maker in the presence of two or more witnesses who are present at the same time;
  • two or more of the attesting witnesses must subscribe the will in the presence of the will-maker;
  • the will-maker must be at least 16 years of age; and
  • the witnesses must be at least 19 years old.

Under s. 15 of the former Wills Act, if the will-maker was married after making the Will and before WESA came into force (March 31, 2014), the will is revoked unless it stated it was made in contemplation of the marriage.  If will-maker married after March 31, 2014, the subsequent marriage does not revoke the Will.

If a Will doesn’t meet WESA requirements, it may be cured by court order that upholds the Will or a portion thereof.  The courts and WESAseek to emphasize testamentary intent rather than demanding strict compliance with the statutory requirements.