When a family member passes away, those left behind find themselves struggling with a range of emotions. While you are grieving the loss of a loved one, you may also be dealing with unexpected matters such as how your family member’s estate is going to be distributed. This is why estate planning and preparing a will are important.
However, even thorough estate planning can sometimes fail and lead to contentious disputes. For example, as a beneficiary in a will, you may be disappointed to learn that you are receiving less than you expected or others may be surprised to learn that you are receiving all or the majority of an estate. You may have suspicions over the validity of a will, or your family member may have passed before they had an opportunity to create a will. If a spouse, child or other beneficiary feels that he or she has been treated unfairly in a will, there are a number of grounds to challenge or vary the will under Canadian and British Columbia law.
A will may be challenged on technical grounds, such as non-compliance with the formal rules under B.C.’s Wills, Estates and Succession Act(WESA). On the other hand, it may be challenged on the basis that the will-maker lacked the mental capacity to make a will, or was subject to undue influence at the time the will was made. An otherwise valid will may also be varied under WESA if, in the court’s opinion, it fails to make adequate provision for the proper maintenance and support of the will-maker’s spouse or children.
If you feel that you or a loved one has been treated unfairly and you would like to know your rights and obligations on these matters, give us a call for a consultation. Our team of experienced lawyers can help you explore your options and find a favourable solution that protects your rights and interests.