When Can the Estate Proceeds be Paid Out to the Beneficiaries?

The time limit starts running after the executor/administrator has received the actual grant from the Court

After the testator passes, the executor will be under some pressure to pay out the estate by beneficiaries. After all, most people could use extra money.

The executor should be aware of Section 155 of WESA which places a 210 day hold on the distribution of the net proceeds of the estate to beneficiaries. The time limit starts running after the executor/administrator has received the actual grant from the Court not after he/she has applied to Court for the grant.

You can short circuit the waiting period if you can get consent of all beneficiaries named in the Will and consent of all next of kin who would be entitled to a share in the estate if there was no Will (even if there is a Will and they are not beneficiaries). The reason being, the legislature wants to ensure that the estate proceeds are not distributed before the avenues of potential dispute are exhausted.

The WESA provision extends the protection formerly given to potential claimants under the Wills Variation Act to essentially include all persons who might wish to raise a claim about an estate. For example, a family member wanting to contest the validity of a will based on undue influence or under the will variation provisions needs to consent. Therefore, when beneficiaries want an early distribution, the executor will need to obtain consent from a broader group of potential claimants than the law formerly required. In many circumstances, it will be impossible or impractical to get consent from all parties, many of whom might be receiving no benefit under the Will and therefore, are less inclined to cooperate.

If there is litigation, the hold period extended indefinitely until the estate litigation proceedings have run their course.

In Stevens v. Wood Estate 2013 BCSC 2380, a case dealing with the old Section 12 of the Wills Variation Act, the executor had distributed to beneficiaries prior to the expiry of the hold period. The Court held that the appropriate remedy was to require the executor to personally repay the distributed funds. Hence, there is a significant incentive not to distribute the money early, except by full consent.

Obligation to a Spouse Under the Will

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