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Is a will valid in B.C. if it was created elsewhere?

Those who want to protect their loved ones in the future often rely on wills and similar documents. According to British Columbia law, however, a will doesn't have to be created inside the province in order to retain its legal validity. Probate courts approach these special documents on a case-by-case basis to determine how they should be handled.

British Columbia's Wills, Estates and Succession Act addresses the fact that laws may conflict from one jurisdiction to another. In instances where the application of a law during the execution of a will would violate British Columbia law, B.C. law trumps the conflict-of-laws rules from the other location. As such, British Columbia law will likely dictate how the will is executed.

For wills from other places to be valid in British Columbia, they have to retain their validity somewhere else. For instance, a will that violates the laws of the nation it was originally drafted in might be inadmissible to probate here. Those who were citizens of other nations at the time of their death or when the will was written may find that probate courts respect the laws of their home countries. The main validity requirement for most wills is that they are properly witnessed and adhere to common procedural formalities.

Administering an estate following a death can be a trying experience from an emotional standpoint, and probate confusion can make it even harder. Because the law allows for the validity of many different classes of wills, it becomes important to have a good understanding of the specific probate legislation that applies in any given instance. Some inheritors and trust beneficiaries find it helpful to seek legal clarification prior to transferring properties.

Source:, "Wills, Estates and Succession Act", November 02, 2014

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