Work in Progress

Undue Influence Recognition / Prevention Guide Update Project

Overview

The aim of this project is to update and re-issue one of BCLI’s best-received and most frequently cited publications, Recommended Practices for Wills Practitioners Relating to Potential Undue Influence: A Guide (the “BCLI Guide”). The BCLI Guide lays out a set of recommended practices for legal practitioners to follow to ensure that the wills and other personal planning documents they prepare represent the genuine independent wishes of their clients and can withstand challenge on the basis of undue influence.

The BCLI Guide and the accompanying Reference Aid checklist and flowchart are being updated partly because of changes to the law of wills made by the Wills, Estates and Succession Amendment Act, 2020. This amending Act validates remote witnessing of will signature by means of audiovisual technology like Zoom, Teams, or Skype on a permanent basis looking forward.  Previously, remote witnessing had been introduced only as a temporary, pandemic-related measure.  The Act also makes it possible after 1 December 2021 to make a valid electronic will in British Columbia. These significant changes in law mean that there will be fewer cases in which legal practitioners will be able to closely supervise the execution and attestation (witnessing) of wills. As a result, they will have to be increasingly attuned to verbal and nonverbal behavioural cues on the part of their clients and those around them that are red flags of undue influence.

A second reason for updating the BCLI Guide is to reflect developments in case law concerning undue influence since the original publication was issued in 2011.

The BCLI Guide and Reference Aid are being updated with the aid of a multidisciplinary project committee like the one that assisted BCLI in creating the original version of the Guide.

This project is generously funded by the Notary Foundation of British Columbia.

Keywords:  undue influence, will, practice, coercion, lawyer, solicitor, notary, client, testator, will-maker

Project Downloads

Below you will find additional, relevant and specific documentation, backgrounders, research, resources, media releases and summaries that have been, or will be incorporated into our final publications and study papers.
If you have questions about these or other specific documents, please reach out to BCLI using our contact page or at the bottom of each page of our website.