More Rectification: Righting Wrong Writing

August 13, 2021 Paul Emile Trudelle Wills Tags: , , 0 Comments

Last Friday I blogged on a rectification decision out of B.C. That case, Re Jamt, was applied in an even more recent decision on rectification, Simpson v. Simpson Estate. There, the judge (who was the same judge as in Re Jamt,) observed that  Re Jamt appears to be the sole decision considering the rectification provisions of B.C.’s Wills, Estates and Succession Act.

In the more recent decision of Simpson v. Simpson Estate, the deceased’s will provided that his shares in a corporation were to go to his two adult children. The rest of the estate passed to the deceased’s second wife. However, the shares were subject to a shareholder agreement, and the co-owner exercised his right to purchase the shares from the estate pursuant to the shareholder agreement. The deceased’s second wife, who was also the estate trustee, then took the position that the gift of the shares failed by reason of the operation of the shareholder agreement and the fact that the shares could not be transferred to the children.

The children applied to rectify the will. They asked that the will be rectified by adding a provision to the will so that the shares or the fair market value of the shares as received pursuant to the shareholder agreement passed to them.

The court granted the rectification sought. Extrinsic evidence from the deceased’s instruction meeting with the drafting solicitor was reviewed. The court concluded that;

“In my view, it is a reasonable inference that, since [the deceased] wanted [his children] to have the Shares, it is more likely than not that he also wanted them to receive the market value of the Shares if bought [under the shareholder agreement]. It would be unusual to want them to have the Shares but not their market value purchase price from their sale.”

Accordingly, the B. C. test for rectification was met:

  1. The deceased’s intention was that the shares or the value of the shares went to his children;
  2. The will as written failed to carry that intention out; and
  3. The failure was a consequence of an error or accidental slip. In this case, the error was that the deceased did not realize and was not advised by the drafting solicitor that the gift of the shares needed to specifically address the impact of the shareholder agreement.

Thank you for reading.

Paul Trudelle

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