Administration of Estates (Non-contentious)
(1) (a) Except where a contrary intention appears, the interpretation section of the Estate Administration Act applies to this rule.
(b) This rule applies to "non-contentious business" defined as the obtaining of a grant of probate or administration where there is no contention as to the right thereto and includes
(i) the obtaining of grants of probate or administration in contentious cases where the contest has been concluded,
(ii) the filing of caveats against the granting of probate or administration,
(iii) the fixing of remuneration and passing of accounts, and
(iv) all non-contentious matters relating to testacy and intestacy, not being proceedings in an action.
(2) Application for probate or letters of administration may be made in any registry.
(3) Subject to subrule (12), the applicant shall deposit with the registrar the original will, if any, and file a præcipe and an affidavit of executor or administrator, in Form 69, 70 or 71, and any further affidavits as may be required by these rules.
(4) Where the applicant specifies in the applicant's affidavit the day on which the testator or the intestate died, no further proof of death shall be required by the registrar. If the fact of the death is certain, but the exact date is unknown, the affidavit shall state the date on which the deceased was last seen alive and the date on which his or her body was found.
(5) The registrar may approve the application and mark the documents as approved, but if the registrar refuses to approve the application the registrar shall note on the documents his or her reasons for refusing approval.
(6) The applicant may set down the application for hearing by the court at any time after the registrar has approved or refused to approve it.
(7) Where there is no attestation clause to a will or codicil, or if the attestation clause is insufficient, the registrar shall require an affidavit from at least one of the subscribing witnesses, if they or either of them are living, to prove that the requirements of the Wills Act as to execution, were in fact complied with.
(8) Where, on perusing the affidavit of a subscribing witness, it appears that the requirements of the Wills Act were not or may not have been complied with, the registrar shall refuse to approve the application.
(9) Where no affidavit can be obtained from either subscribing witness, an affidavit shall be provided from any other person present at the execution of the will or codicil, but if no affidavit of any person can be obtained, evidence shall be provided on affidavit
(a) of that fact and of the handwriting of the deceased and the subscribing witnesses, and
(b) of any circumstances which may raise a presumption in favour of proper execution.
(10) Where there is doubt as to the date on which a will was executed, the registrar may require evidence he or she thinks necessary to establish the date, and shall endorse a note of the date on the will.
(11) Where the circumstances appear to justify the direction, the court may require that proof of the will be made in solemn form.
(12) An application for proof of a will in solemn form shall be by petition in Form 3, and Rule 10 applies.
(13) On application for proof of a will in solemn form, copies of the petition shall be served on all persons having an interest in upholding or contesting the validity of the will, and the petition shall contain a warning to those persons that they will be bound by the result of the proceeding.
(14) When an interlineation or alteration appears in the will, it is, unless properly executed, or recited in, or otherwise identified by the attestation clause, an affidavit in proof of its existence in the will before execution must be filed, except when the alteration is of small importance and is evidenced by the initials of the attesting witnesses.
(15) An erasure or obliteration shall not prevail unless it is
(a) proved to have existed in the will at the time of its execution,
(b) properly executed and attested, or
(c) rendered valid by the re-execution of the will, or by the subsequent execution of a codicil,
but if no satisfactory evidence can be adduced as to the time when the erasure or obliteration was made, and the words erased or obliterated are not entirely effaced, but can be ascertained on inspection, the words must form part of the probate.
(16) Where words that might have been of importance have been erased or obliterated, the registrar may require an affidavit explaining the circumstances.
(17) Where a will contains a reference to a document, which is of such nature as to raise a question whether the document ought to form part of the will, the registrar shall require the production of the document to ascertain whether it is entitled to probate, and, if not produced, its non-production must be accounted for.
(18) No document can form part of a will unless it was in existence at the time the will was executed.
(19) Where there is an indication on the testamentary papers leading to the inference that a document has been attached to them, the indication must be satisfactorily explained, or the registrar shall require the document to be produced, and, if not produced, its non-production must be accounted for.
(20) Where a person applies for letters of administration under section 6 of the Estate Administration Act, the names and kinship of those having a prior right or an equal right to a grant shall be shown, and it shall be shown that each of them has consented or renounced, otherwise the registrar may direct notice to be given in Form 72 to any of them by mail.
(21) Unless the court otherwise orders, a limited administration shall not be granted unless every person entitled to a general grant has consented or renounced, or has been cited and has failed to appear.
(22) Unless the court otherwise orders, no person entitled to a general grant of administration of the personal estate and effects of a deceased will be permitted to take a limited grant.
(23) Where a person entitled to administration resides outside British Columbia, administration, or administration with the will annexed, may be granted to the person or the person's attorney acting under a power of attorney.
(24) With the consent of the Public Trustee, a grant of administration may be made to the guardians of an infant for his or her use and benefit.
(25) Unless the court otherwise orders, the bond to be given upon any grant of administration shall be in Form 73 or Form 74.
(26) The sureties in an administration bond are required to prove by affidavit that they together have assets equal to the amount of the bond. No registrar shall become surety to any administration bond.
(27) In all cases other than those to which section 23 (1) of the Estate Administration Act applies, unless the court otherwise orders, not less than 2 sureties shall be required to the administration bond, and the bond shall be in an amount as the court may order, and the court may also order that more than one bond shall be given so as to limit the liability of a surety.
(28) Unless the court otherwise orders, no grant of probate or administration shall issue until after 7 days from the death of the deceased.
(29) Where probate or administration is applied for more than 3 years after the death of the deceased,
(a) the reason for the delay shall be set out in an affidavit, and
(b) the registrar may require further proof of the alleged cause of delay as the registrar thinks fit.
(30) The registrar may require proof, in addition to the affidavit of the executor or administrator, of the identity of the deceased, or of the party applying for a grant.
(31) On every application for administration it must be shown that a search for a will or testamentary paper has been made in all places where the deceased usually kept his or her documents, and the applicant must file a letter from the Director of Vital Statistics showing the results of a search at the director's office for a notice of a will filed by or on behalf of the deceased under the Wills Act.
(32) An executor who swears that the executor is presenting the last will of the deceased, and files a letter from the Director of Vital Statistics showing the results of a search at the director's office for a notice of a will filed by or on behalf of the deceased, shall not be required by the registrar to prove by affidavit that the executor made a search for a later will.
(33) So person, other than an official administrator, who renounces as executor of the will or who renounces the right to apply for administration of the estate of a deceased person in one capacity, shall be appointed the personal representative of the deceased in another capacity.
(34) A person intending to oppose the issue of a grant of probate or administration shall, in any registry of the court, file a caveat in Form 75.
(35) The registrar in whose registry a caveat has been filed shall forthwith notify the registrar at Victoria who shall forthwith notify all other registrars in the Province.
(36) The caveator must declare in the caveat the nature of his interest in the property of the deceased, and state generally the grounds upon which the caveat is entered. The caveat shall be signed by the caveator, or by the caveator's solicitor, and shall state his address for delivery to which Rule 8 (6) and (7) apply.
(37) Subject to subrule (42), a caveat remains in force for 6 months after being filed, unless it is sooner withdrawn by notice filed by the caveator, and then it expires and is of no effect, but by order of the court, it may be renewed from time to time.
(38) No grant of administration or probate shall be made while a caveat is in force.
(39) A person intending to apply for probate or administration or claiming an interest in an estate with respect to which a caveat has been filed, may file a notice to caveator in Form 76 in the registry in which the caveat was filed, and shall deliver a copy to the address for delivery set out in the caveat.
(40) The notice to caveator shall state the name and interest of the person on whose behalf it is issued and, if that person claims under a will or codicil, shall also state
(a) the date of the will or codicil, and
(b) the person's address for delivery to which Rule 8 (6) and (7) apply.
(41) An appearance to a notice to caveator shall be in Form 7.
(42) Where a notice to caveator has been filed and a copy delivered to the caveator and no appearance has been filed within the time stated in the notice, the registrar shall cancel the caveat and notify the registrar at Victoria.
(43) Where an executor fails to apply for the probate of a will, any person interested may cite the executor to accept or refuse probate of the will, or to show cause why administration should not be granted to the executor or to some other person having a prior right who is willing to accept the grant, but no citation shall issue until 14 days after the testator's death.
(44) The citation shall be in Form 77 and an answer in Form 78.
(45) (a) Where there is or may be a document that may be alleged to be a will of a deceased person, a citation to propound the document as a will may be issued by any person interested.
(b) The citation must
(i) be in Form 79,
(ii) be supported by affidavit, and
(iii) be directed to the executor and any other person named in the document.
(c) An answer shall be in Form 80.
(46) (a) Where a testamentary document may be in the possession or control of a person, a citation may be issued to the person calling on the person to deposit with the registrar any testamentary document in the person's possession or control, or to state under oath that no testamentary document is in the person's possession or control.
(b) The citation shall be in Form 81 and shall be supported by affidavit.
(c) Where it is shown by affidavit, to the satisfaction of the registrar, that a person has knowledge of a will or other document or any asset relating to or belonging to an estate, the registrar may issue a subpoena in Form 82 for service on that person.
(47) A citation shall be served personally, and Rules 11, 12 and 13 apply. An answer shall be filed and delivered.
(48) If probate or administration has been granted by a court of competent jurisdiction outside British Columbia and the grant cannot be resealed under the provisions of the Probate Recognition Act,
(a) a grant of administration, limited to the estate of the deceased in British Columbia, may be made to the attorney of the personal representative appointed by the foreign court, or
(b) an ancillary grant of probate or administration may be made to the personal representative appointed by the foreign court.
(49) A copy of a foreign will to be annexed to a grant of administration must be certified by the court out of which probate or administration has been granted.
(50) An application to reseal a grant of probate or letters of administration under the Probate Recognition Act may be made in any registry by the personal representative or the representative's attorney.
(51) The applicant for resealing shall file the grant of probate or letters of administration, or a copy certified by the issuing court.
(52) An application for resealing must be accompanied by an affidavit of the executor, administrator or attorney, in Form 83.
(53) (a) If the domicile of the deceased at the time of death as sworn to in the affidavit differs from that suggested by the description in a foreign grant, the registrar may require further evidence as to domicile.
(b) If the registrar is satisfied that the deceased was not at the time of death domiciled within the jurisdiction of the court from which the foreign grant issued, the registrar shall mark the application accordingly.
(54) Subrules (5) and (6) apply to an application for resealing.
(55) No grant of probate or administration or certified copy shall be resealed unless it includes a copy of any testamentary paper admitted to probate.
(56) Notice of a resealing of a grant shall be sent to the court from which the grant issued.
(57) Where the registrar has notice of the resealing of a British Columbia grant, the registrar shall give notice of the revocation of or any alteration in the grant to the court which resealed it.
(58) An application to the court for passing of accounts and remuneration shall be made ex parte by notice of motion supported by an affidavit in Form 84.
(59) On the application, the court shall give all necessary directions and may refer the matter to the registrar under Rule 32.
Administration of Estates (Contentious)
(1) In this rule "probate action" means an action for the grant of probate of the will of, or letters of administration of the estate of, a deceased person, or for the revocation of a grant or for an order pronouncing for or against the validity of an alleged testamentary paper, but does not include a proceeding governed by Rule 61.
(2) In an action where the validity of a testamentary paper is questioned, all persons having an interest in upholding or disputing its validity shall be joined as defendants.
(3) A probate action shall be commenced by writ of summons, and the endorsement on the writ, or the statement of claim if it is set out in the writ, shall contain a statement of the interest of the plaintiff and of each defendant in the estate of the deceased.
(4) Each person who is entitled or claims to be entitled to administer the estate of a deceased person under or by virtue of an unrevoked grant of probate or letters or administration must be made a party to any action for revocation of the grant, and by leave of the court, a person interested in the estate, but not named as a defendant, may enter an appearance and defend the action as though the person were a defendant.
(5) In an action for the revocation of a grant of probate or administration,
(a) if the action is commenced by a person to whom the grant was made, the person shall lodge the grant with the registrar within 7 days after the issue of the writ, or
(b) if a defendant to the action has the grant in his possession or under his control, the defendant shall lodge it with the registrar within 7 days after the service of the writ upon him,
and the person to whom the grant was issued shall not act under it without leave of the registrar.
(6) Where a person fails to comply with subrule (5), the registrar may issue a citation in Form 85 calling on the person to bring the grant into the registrar's office, and a person against whom the citation is issued shall not take any step in the action without leave of the court until the person has complied with the citation.
(7) Rule 17 does not apply to a probate action, and if a defendant fails to enter an appearance within the time allowed, the plaintiff may proceed with the action on serving a statement of claim.
(8) A defendant to a probate action who alleges that he or she has a claim or is entitled to relief or a remedy in respect of a matter relating to the grant of probate or letters of administration shall deliver a counterclaim in respect of that claim, relief or remedy.
(9) Where the plaintiff fails to serve a statement of claim, a defendant may, with the leave of the court, deliver a counterclaim, and the action shall then proceed as if the defendant were the plaintiff.
(10) In a probate action, a statement of defence may state that the defendant merely requires that the will be proved in solemn form, and that the defendant only intends to cross-examine the witnesses produced in support of the will, and in that event the defendant is not liable for costs, unless the court determines that there was no reasonable ground for requiring proof in solemn form.
(11) Rules 25 (1), (2), (3), (12), (13) and 36 do not apply to a probate action.
(12) At any stage of a probate action the court may order the action to be discontinued or dismissed, and may order that a grant of probate or administration be made to the person entitled.
(13) No probate action shall be compromised without leave of the court.
Crown Practice Rules in Civil Matters
(1) Applications for relief in the nature of mandamus, prohibition, certiorari or habeas corpus are governed by these rules and must be commenced by petition under Rule 10.
(2) No writ of mandamus, prohibition, certiorari or habeas corpus shall be issued, but all necessary directions shall be made by order.
(3) The court may order that a person who may be affected by a proceeding for an order in the nature of mandamus may take part in the proceeding to the same extent as if served with the petition.
(1) Unless otherwise provided by an enactment, a person may, on payment of the proper fees, obtain from the registry a copy of a document on file in a proceeding.
(2) Except on Saturdays, holidays and those days that are prescribed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council as holidays for the Public Service of the Province, the registry shall be kept open to the public for the transaction of business from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.
(3) The hours of attendance by the registrar and the registry staff are from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
(4) Where a registry has insufficient staff to allow continuous staff attendance at the lunch hour, the Chief Justice may, in writing, authorize that registry to close.
(5) In each registry the seal, directed by the rules, shall be used and shall be stamped on every writ and other document requiring a seal, issued out of or filed in that registry.
(6) The name of the registry shall be written or stamped on the face of every document issued from or filed or recorded in a registry.
(7) Where the signature of the registrar is required on a certificate relating to a matter of record in the court or registry, a notice, or any process by consent, in default, or ex parte, the document shall be deemed to have been signed by the registrar if his or her name is written, printed, stamped or otherwise made apparent on it by a person appointed by the registrar to perform that function.
(8) No writ or process shall be issued from and no proceedings shall be taken in the registry out of office hours, but in case of urgency, the court may order that a registry be opened for the purpose of commencing a proceeding or for some other good reason.
(9) A registry may destroy any præcipe or notice of hearing submitted under Rule 10 (11) or (12).
(10) Where an application ought to be made to, or any jurisdiction exercised by, the judge by whom a proceeding has been tried or partly tried, or heard or partly heard, then if that judge dies or ceases to be a judge of the court during or after the trial or hearing, or if for any other reason it is impossible or inconvenient for that judge to act in the proceeding, the Chief Justice or next senior judge of the court may either by a special or by a general order nominate some other judge to whom the application may be made or by whom the jurisdiction may be exercised.
(11) Without restricting the generality of the foregoing, that other judge may order that the proceeding be restored to the proper registry for retrial or rehearing, and, in case the original trial or hearing was upon evidence given viva voce, may direct that the retrial or rehearing shall be upon an official transcript of that evidence, or upon such transcript and evidence given viva voce and evidence given by affidavit, or upon new evidence, or otherwise, as in his or her opinion the circumstances of the case require, and may dispose of the costs of the original trial or hearing and of the costs of furnishing any copies of the transcript of the evidence, or may refer the question of costs to the judge presiding at the retrial or rehearing.
(12) No directions for a retrial or rehearing which include a direction for the use of the transcript of the evidence shall limit or restrict the power of the judge presiding at the retrial or rehearing to permit in his or her discretion the recalling of any witness called at the original trial or hearing, or to receive other or additional evidence.
(13) At any time after a proceeding is commenced, the court may on application order it to be transferred from the registry in which it was commenced to any other registry of the court for any or all purposes.
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