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What is new about the Wills, Estates and Succession Act?

The legislation for Wills, Estates and Succession Act, or WESA, and Probate Rules has changed. Why, you may ask? The new WESA appears to be clearer, simpler and is now streamlined so that the processes that are related to inheritance and the administration of estates are easier to use and follow.

The succession law portion was particularly dated and, for British Columbia, the laws were so fragmented that today's reader had a really hard time applying them to the current situations that are now prevalent.

Some of our top legal minds drafted the newer version and they are said to have done a great job making the new WESA so much easier to apply. Funding was provided by the ministry for this change.

This affects you in some interesting ways. The new WESA clarifies the process that the inheritor must go through when no will is left in place. It makes clear what events must take place when looking for heirs to an estate that has no will. Also, it lowers the minimum age of making a will from 19 to 16 years of age.

Older wills that were written before the WESA was updated are still effective and do not need to be replaced with a newer version. Some of the rules have changed through. For example, whether a marriage revokes a will. Also whether gifts given to a particular person during the lifetime of the will-maker can be deducted from one's inheritance or not.

If you already have a will, you may want to call an attorney who is familiar with these new rules of law and can guide you through the process of ensuring they will stand up in court.

As you can see, there is much more to this newer version of the Wills, Estates and Succession Act than meets the eye.

Source: British Columbia Ministry of Justice, "Wills, Estates and Succession Act and Probate Rules Questions and Answers ," accessed June 10, 2015

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