Commencing Actions on Behalf of an Estate in British Columbia: A Deep Dive into Section 151 with Scott Boucher, Norton Rose Fulbright LLP

The enactment of British Columbia’s Wills, Estates and Succession Act (“WESA”) on March 31, 2014 marked the modernization of estates and succession law in British Columbia. WESA overhauled a legislative framework that was outdated and needlessly complex, streamlining the legislation and introducing modern succession processes. Among those introduced was section 151, the first of its kind in the British Columbia estates legislative regime.

Despite a will-maker’s best efforts to prevent conflict amongst their beneficiaries, the distribution of an estate often results in emotionally and financially fueled disagreements. Where there has been a failure on behalf of the will-maker to keep their estate planning documents current, or perhaps even to put any plan into place, the chances of associated litigation increase. It is not uncommon for the personal representative to be in a conflict of interest with such litigation, or to have differing views as to its probable outcome. Accordingly, even where careful planning has been put in place, the personal representative may be unable or unwilling to pursue certain claims on behalf of the estate.

In such circumstances, section 151 provides a mechanism by which a beneficiary, intestate successor or third party may, with leave of the court, commence or defend proceedings on behalf of an estate. As the estates bar navigates this relatively new procedure, a series of key decisions from the British Columbia Supreme Court provide guidance as to its proper application.

Scott Boucher, Senior Associate with Norton Rose Fulbright LLP, will present his paper*, “A Deep Dive into Section 151”, at PBLI’s presentation, Administering Estates in Uncertain Times, on January 29, 2021. Join us for an in-depth review of the case law arising from section 151, along with guidance on best practices for the personal representative, beneficiaries and counsel when faced with such an application. Jump start your CPD hours for the year and enjoy a 21% discount on your registration fee by quoting “PBLI21” when you register.

*co-authored by Lindsey Wilson, Articling Student

Posted on September 17, 2021  |  Comments (0)

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