Wills Variation and Culture Clashes in BC

Estate Planning

British Columbia is a very diverse place and living in such diversity enriches the lives of all of the residents. However, as is sometimes the case, there can be conflict between acceptable cultural practices in other parts of the world and the accepted community standards here in BC.

This issue can arise in the context of Wills variation and estate litigation when a will-maker follows their traditional cultural customs and leaves the lion-share of their estate to male rather than female children. The Courts in British Columbia have determined that cultural practices such as this do not have a legitimate context and can be remedy by application to the Court. This issue are in the case of Prakash v. Singh, 2006 BCSC 1545, where the Court made the following comments:

[58] In modern Canada, where the rights of the individual and equality are protected by law, the norm is for daughters to have the same expectations as sons when it comes to sharing in their parents’ estates. That the daughters in this case would have this expectation should not come as a surprise. They have lived most of their lives, and their children have lived all of their lives, in Canada.

[59] A tradition of leaving the lion’s share to the sons may work agreeably in other societies with other value systems that legitimize it, but in our society, such a disparity has no legitimate context. It is bound to be unfair, and it runs afoul of the statute in this province.

Related Information on BC Wills Variation:
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