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Probate Fee

On October 28, 1998, a proposed class action was commenced against the BC government for a declaration that the government's collection of probate fees was unconstitutional, and for return of the probate monies paid by executors of BC estates after April 1, 1997.

In a decision of Mr. Justice Pitfield dated March 14. 1999, the Supreme Court of British Columbia certified that this lawsuit as a class action and ruled that Alfreda Howard could act as the representative plaintiff. Following that ruling, a Formal Notice was sent out to all known class members.

The court scheduled a hearing for May 24, 1999 to determine both the constitutionality of the probate fee and whether or not persons who paid that fee under protest are entitled to recovery. On application by the government the hearing was adjourned.

The Government then passed the Probate Fee Act which reasserted the Governments' right to tax the probate of wills. The Act also purported to legitimize the Governments' collection of the unconstitutional fees back to 1998 and takes away the right of individuals to sue the Government to recover funds paid in satisfaction of those fees.

Given this legislative change, it was determined that the action should be discontinued. For more information please review the New Notice to Class Members of Discontinued Class Action.

If you have any questions regarding this case, please contact Branch MacMaster at (604) 654-2999 or by email to wbranch@branmac.com.