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Ms. Levesque wrote a will in 2009, which divided her estate into seven equal shares among her six children and her eldest grandchild, Ms. Nixon.

When Ms. Levesque passed away in 2018, the executors of her will noticed that Ms. Levesque had used white out to remove Ms. Nixon from among the beneficiaries in her will. The executors sought the direction of the court to determine if the alteration of the Will was effective.

In order to amend the terms of a will in B.C., amendments must be carried out in accordance with the Wills, Estate and Succession Act (WESA) and a strict procedure must be followed.

The procedure necessitates that any alterations or changes be signed by the willmaker and witnessed by two witnesses in the willmaker’s presence.

In Ms. Levesque’s case, the alteration was not made in accordance with the law because it hadn’t been witnessed. The court reviewed the evidence and determined that, on the balance of probabilities, it was likely that Ms. Levesque was the only person who had made the alteration to the will.

The court determined it was likely Ms. Levesque deliberately applied the white out to remove Ms. Nixon as a beneficiary after Ms. Nixon eloped without telling her in advance.

The court then looked to section 58 of WESA, which allows the court to make an alteration to a will effective as though it had been made in accordance with WESA in the first place. The court found that Ms. Levesque’s deliberate use of white out in her will intended to remove Ms. Nixon as a beneficiary and upheld the alteration. As a result, Ms. Nixon did not inherit any of Ms. Levesque’s estate.

Contemplating changes to your will?

If you make changes to your will yourself and they are not deemed effective, your estate could end up incurring legal costs to seek a ruling to clarify your intention. Lack of clarity can also cause confusion and upset among your family members regarding what your intentions actually are.

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