Nixon Wenger Lawyers LLP

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Andrew Powell, Partner

250-542-5353

PRACTICE EMPHASIS

Andrew practices a wide range of civil litigation with a twin focus on business or commercial disputes, including breach of contract and enforcement, and estate litigation, including wills variation claims, in-trust claims and other estate-related litigation.

PRACTICE AREAS

Litigation
Estate Litigation
Loan Realization and Enforcement
Civil Litigation
Appeals

EDUCATION

BA from the University of Victoria in 1993.
LLB from the University of British Columbia in 1997.
Law Clerk at the British Columbia Court of Appeal 1998.
Called to the British Columbia Bar in 1999.

PRACTICE DESCRIPTION

Litigation - Andrew has appeared in all court levels of British Columbia and before various tribunals. He has acted for clients in a variety of complex claims, representing companies, shareholders or shareholder groups, strata corporations, property owners and property owner groups, beneficiaries, estate executors and trustees. Andrew has been involved in debt collection and enforcement for both private and institutional lenders.

Estate Claims - Andrew has appeared in many cases involving the disputed status of a beneficiary, disputed or missing estate assets, determinations of trusts, wills variations, wills rectification or curing, and many other estate claims. Andrew has been appointed by the Public Trustee to represent clients in a variety of estate-related matters, and has also represented private individuals in estate claims. Together with associate, Chris Hart, Andrew teaches estate litigation at the Thompson Rivers University School of Law.

Recent decisions and settlements obtained for clients include:

May 2, 2019, Andrew filed an action for the variation of a will on behalf of the child of a deceased: the child was one of four beneficiaries, was not in regular contact with the deceased, and had been left a sizeable inheritance already; however following examinations for discovery we were able to settle the matter and increased the inheritance to approximately 35% of the estate of the deceased.

April 30, 2019, Andrew represented a bereaved woman whose relationship status with respect to a deceased man was challenged by the deceased’s family: they said that she was not his common law spouse, citing that she had a home in a different city, had been seeing the deceased only informally for a relatively short period of time, and that their many electronic communications indicated that the pair did not consider themselves as spouses and were not living together as spouses.  Against that, we were able to provide evidence of their relationship that indicated that the pair did consider themselves as spouses and would be found as such by law.  We were able to settle the matter on behalf of our client, receiving an award of approximately 50% of the estate.

May 4, 2018, Andrew represented the widow of a man who died leaving her all his property, which was a very significant amount of land.  The Deceased’s siblings sued, arguing that in fact the man had not owned the property, but rather had held in trust for them for decades, following the death of their own parents.  They argued that they had transferred their rights in the property to the deceased many years previously, and that a trust resulted from that transfer.  At trial, we argued that if there was any transfer at all, it was not one that could be impressed with a trust.  We succeeded at trial, and the widow received full ownership of the property at issue.

October 3, 2016, a man died, leaving all of his assets including a large piece of valuable land to his common-law spouse.  The assets had been jointly held with the spouse, so she received them all by right of survivorship; and moreover the Deceased’s will left all his estate to the spouse as well.  Andrew challenged both the creation of the joint ownerships and the Deceased’s will, citing lack of mental capacity and undue influence, in that the spouse had assumed a position of power and was controlling the Deceased’s actions when he gave her joint ownership and when he executed his will.  We succeeded in gaining back 50% of the Deceased’s property from the spouse.

PROFESSIONAL & CIVIC INTERESTS

  • Member of the Vernon Bar Association
  • Member of the BC Trial Lawyers Association
  • Director of the BC Liberal Constituency Association for the Okanagan-Monashee
  • President of the Vernon Art Gallery
  • Member of the Interior BC Association for Injured Motorcyclists
  • Past Director of the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce
  • Elected Representative of the Canadian Bar Association (BC Branch) provincial council

 

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