The rules of court relating to probate procedure are an important component of the law relating to wills and estates. They must operate in concert with the legislation and common law governing wills and estates. Enactment of the Wills, Estates and Succession Act has created an urgent need to revise the existing probate rules, because certain rule changes must be in place in order for the Act to be fully implemented.
There are additional reasons for reform of the present probate rules, namely Rules 21-4 and 21-5. Competing priorities and constraints on time and resources did not allow for probate procedure to be given much attention in the process that led to the recently introduced Supreme Court Civil Rules. Rules 21‐4 and 21‐5 are essentially the same as the former Rules 61 and 62. They preserve some anomalies that were present in the former rules as well and require probate procedures that are overdue for modernization.
The British Columbia Law Institute undertook the Probate Rules Reform Project with the support of the Ministry of Attorney General to address the need to reform probate procedure and facilitate the implementation of the Wills, Estates and Succession Act. A distinguished Project Committee consisting of prominent wills and estates practitioners, a master of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, and experienced probate registry officials devoted much time and collective expertise to this task. This report reflects the results of the Project, including an annotated draft of new probate rules. The Institute recommends their adoption.
Keywords: wills, estates & life planning, Rules of Court, Probate Rules, courts & tribunals, administration of estates, Succession Law Reform Project
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