Ministry of Justice

Wills, Estates and Succession Act and New Probate Rules

The Wills, Estates and Succession Act came into force on March 31, 2014. The act provides greater certainty for individuals who put their last wishes into writing and simplifies the process for those responsible for distributing an estate.

Among its benefits, the act:

  • clarifies the process of inheritance when a person dies without leaving a will;
  • makes the process easier for a person to transfer the title of their spousal home when their spouse dies;
  • clearly outlines the sequence in which to look for heirs to a person’s estate;
  • provides the courts with more latitude to ensure a deceased person’s last wishes will be respected;
  • clarifies obligations relating to property inheritance in the context of Nisga'a and Treaty First Nation lands; and
  • lowers the minimum age at which a person can make a will from 19 to 16 years old.

New Probate Rules

The Supreme Court Civil Rules dealing with probate and administration (probate rules) have been amended to reflect changes brought about by the enactment of the Wills, Estates and Succession Act and to modernize the application process. The new rules came into effect with the Wills, Estates and Succession Act on March 31, 2014.

The Wills, Estates and Succession Act and probate rules have been amended since being first passed.

Orders in Council:

  • Order in Council 190 brings sections of the Wills, Estates and Succession Act and regulations into force on March 31, 2014.
  • Order in Council 125 brings section 268 (consequential and related amendments) of the Wills, Estates and Succession Act into force on April 1, 2014.
  • Order in Council 132 amends sections of the B.C. Supreme Court Civil Rules regulations related to probate, effective March 30 and 31, 2014.