In honour of Make-A-Will Week, Courthouse Libraries BC has prepared a list of resources for members of the legal community.
If you are dealing with: making a will, probate, being an executor, creating a personal planning document like a representation agreement, start your research by accessing the resources below.
Law Society practice checklists
- Will Procedure (updated to September 1, 2021) (PDF | Doc)
- Will-Maker Interview (updated to September 1, 2021) (PDF | Doc)
- Will Drafting (updated to September 1, 2021) (PDF | Doc)
- Probate & Administration Interview (updated to September 1, 2021) (PDF | Doc)
- Probate & Administration Procedure (updated to September 1, 2021) (PDF | Doc)
- Our Guide to WESA
- Ministry of Justice Website - includes an explanation and Q&A section on WESA and the new Probate Rules.
- Law Society of BC: Risks and Tips - Wills & Estates - The Lawyers Indemnity Fund identifies risks for wills and estates practitioners and provides practical loss prevention tips. Topics include Undue Influence.
- BCLI Report: Recommended Practices for Wills Practitioners Relating to Potential Undue Influence - A 2011 report by the BC Law Institute made in contemplation of the shifts in the burden of proof brought by section 52 of WESA. Includes "Undue Influence Recognition/Prevention" - a reference aid.
- BCLI Report: Common Law Tests of Capacity - A 2013 report by the BC Law Institute contains general information on mental capacity and the law, including the common-law tests of capacity to: make a will, make a beneficiary designation, nominate a committee, and retain legal counsel, among others. The paper also discusses medical sources of cognitive decline and legal approaches to tests of capacity.
Online tools at the library
CLE Document Builder - CLEBC provides a Document Builder which allows users to create downloadable wills templates with desired clauses. See Courthouse Libraries BC’s How-To Video. The Document Builder is available through Public Access Computers available at our branch locations.
Print material at the library
Annotated Estates Practice 2022 - KN120.A56
Key statutes (such as WESA and Probate Rules) have been annotated by estates lawyers with succinct summaries of relevant decisions in everyday language.
BC Estate Planning & Wealth Preservation - KN122.B74
By leading estate and tax practitioners, this multidisciplinary title will help you determine a sensible approach for each client's needs, and to create trusts and other tools to minimize taxes and preserve wealth.
British Columbia Probate and Estate Administration Practice Manual - KN127.B75 A2
This is a practice-oriented guide for British Columbia legal professionals working in probate and estate administration. This manual provides steps on managing probate and estate matters, advice preparing and making applications, and handling difficult tax and conflict of laws issues.
Wills, Estates and Succession Act Transition Guide - KN120.W55 C65
The Wills, Estates and Succession Act and the new Probate Rules took effect on March 31, 2014. This WESA Transition Guide includes overviews of the WESA and the Probate Rules, detailed tables of concordance, annotations, and emerging transition issues.
Wills and Personal Planning Precedents: An Annotated Guide - KN125.9.B63
Peter W. Bogardus, QC and Mary B. Hamilton - This publication is essential for all lawyers who draft wills in British Columbia. This collection of sample will clauses and documents includes BC-focused precedents. The annotations and commentary explain the use of optional clauses and the relevant law.
Capacity and undue influence - KN125.1.P69 2019
John Poyser. This text deals with the law of capacity, knowledge and approval, intention, and undue influence as those legal principles relate to the voluntary transfer of wealth. The capacity to make a will, the capacity to make beneficiary designations, the capacity to make gifts, and the capacity to settle trusts are examined in this book. Undue influence is looked at both under the equitable doctrine and under the common law. The laws of Canada, excluding Quebec, are covered.
Drafting Trusts and Will Trusts in Canada - KN210.K47 2020
The aim of this book by BC lawyer Fiona Hunter, and England-based barrister James Kessler, QC, is to aid the generalist lawyer by discussing general and technical issues which arise in the drafting of trusts and wills trusts, and to provide precedents. The authors have endeavored to state the law as of April 2016. Drafters should take care to seek tax advice in light of a series of new tax rules affecting trusts (discussed in Chapter 4). Note that BC is considering adoption of provisions of the Uniform Trustee Act—be alert to changes in the Trustee Act.
The Executor's Handbook - KN143.G73 2019
This practical resource is designed to assist the administrator, executor or liquidator of an estate in the administration process. It contains information that applies across provinces and territories. The latest edition includes coverage of new BC estate legislation.
A medical-legal approach to estate planning and decision making for older clients - KN122.M42L387
This title of national and international papers features collaboration between the legal and healthcare professions. It includes lectures on: interviewing the older client and tips on consulting with medical practitioners. Online access is available at all CLBC Locations and lawyers can also access it in e-book format by logging in for remote desktop access.
Oosterhoff on wills - KN120.O57 2021
A.H. Oosterhoff. This primer on Canadian wills law has been updated to incorporate WESA provisions and new BC statutory rules on abatement and encumbered property.
Taxation of Trusts and Estates: A Practitioner's Guide - KM337.35.F762
Grace Chow, Ian Pryor. A handbook and research source that provides commentary on trust and estate planning concepts, with clear, practical solutions for preparing the T3 Trust Income Tax and Information Returns and Schedules.
Waters' law of trusts in Canada - KN210.W384 2021
Editor-in-chief, Donovan W.M. Waters; contributing editors, Mark R. Gillen, Lionel D. Smith. This book examines all facets of the law of trusts in every Canadian Jurisdiction.
Webinars & courses
- Courthouse Libraries BC Archived Webinars - Continuing professional development for members of the Law Society. View webinars under Personal Planning, Estates and Trusts.
- CLEBC - Wills, Estates and Trusts Courses - Continuing professional education for BC lawyers and their support staff (for CPD).
- Law Society of BC Online Learning Centre - Wills and Estates Planning Learning Module offered by the Law Society of BC. Member login may be required.
- Nidus Presentations and Webinars - Free monthly webinars for the public and professionals on Representation Agreements and other planning documents you can make and register to prepare for incapacity, end-of-life and other support needs.
- Mediate BC - What Do Mediators Need to Know About Wills, Estates and Succession Act (WESA)? - Recorded webinar - Learn five ways that WESA changes the law of succession in BC.
- Wills, Estates and Succession Act (WESA)
- Supreme Court Civil (Probate) Rules* and Forms
- Indian Act
- Trustee Act
- Land Title Act
- Family Law Act
- Income Tax Act
- Representation Agreement Act and Regulation
- Power of Attorney Act and Regulation
- Health Care (Consent) and Care Facility (Admission) Act and Regulation
- Patients Property Act and Regulation
- Wills Registry - Vital Statistics Agency - Register or search for a Wills Notice.
- Nidus Personal Planning Registry - Securely file digital copies of their legal documents, including wills, powers of attorney, representation agreements.
- Court Services Online - Search for Provincial and Supreme Court civil probate and caveat/dispute cases based on deceased name.
Page last updated September 22, 2022