Definitions of the Wills, Estates and Succession Act

Fast & CompanyGeneral

If you are involved in the probate of a will, below are some definitions and interpretations as set forth in the Wills, Estates and Succession Act that took effect in British Columbia in 2014.

  • Beneficiary – An individual named in wills to receive a portion or all of an estate, or an individual who has a beneficial interest in any trusts created by wills.
  • Benefit – In a “benefit plan,” this is money paid out under the terms of any benefit plans after the participant’s death.
  • Benefit plan – This can take the form of profit-sharing or welfare funds, retirement or pension plans, arrangements, schemes, contracts or trusts that pay out annuities for variable or fixed-terms or for life, retirement income funds or savings plans registered under Canada’s Income Tax Act or tax-free savings accounts within the Act.
  • Descendant – Lineal descendants throughout multiple generations.
  • Designated beneficiaries – Those to whom benefits are payable, or those for whose advantage benefits are payable by designation.
  • Estate – All property formerly owned by a person who has died.
  • Foreign grant – Grants of probate, that can include letters of verification issuing from Quebec, or grants of administration or similar documents alleged to be similar issued by courts outside of British Columbia.
  • Foreign personal representatives – Those personal representatives to whom foreign grants have been made.
  • Gift – This term includes appointments that affect property besides the appointment of an individual as executor of a will, beneficial bequests or devises.
  • Intestate – One who dies without having a will.
  • Intestate estate – An estate of an individual who dies without having a will.
  • Intestate successor – One entitled to receive a portion, or all, of an intestate estate.
  • Nominee – One granted power over the financial affairs, as applicable under the Patients Property Act; lawyers acting under the enduring powers of attorney in Part 2 of the Power of Attorney Act; representatives acting under representation agreements made under Section 7 of the Representation Agreement Act, and those appointed under Section 51 of Canada’s Indian Act.

As these definitions and terms are not inclusive, those involved with the probate of a will may wish to consult an estate lawyer for guidance.