Garton & Harris

Navigating estate litigation after the death of a loved one

There is an old Roman saying that says the people who want to have peace should always prepare for war. In some ways, this notion applies to estate planning. Indeed, a good estate plan will seek to achieve several very important goals, and one of the most important ones is the avoidance of family infighting, disagreements and ugly legal battles between heirs.

That said, despite the best plans of British Columbia estate planners, families may still end up in disagreement. When this happens, estate lawyers will need to examine the situation closely to resolve the point(s) of contention. A lot of disputes relate to the validity of the last will and testament and other testamentary documents that may be called into question.

For example, if more than one will was drafted by the decedent, family members who stood to benefit from the first will might try to allege that the second will was drafted when the decedent was not of sound mind. Or, they might try to show that the decedent was pressured into drafting a new will to benefit a certain family member inappropriately.

Regardless the nature of the dispute, British Columbia residents may benefit from seeking out the assistance of an estate lawyer to help them with their estate litigation proceedings. Estate lawyers can evaluate the situation to determine the most appropriate legal strategies to employ. All the while, an estate lawyer must try to keep the peace between family members, reverting to estate litigation as a last resort when all attempts at amicably resolving the disputed matter(s) have failed.

Source: Huffington Post, "Estate Planning: Avoiding (Or At Least Managing) The Family War," Suzana Popovic-Montag, Sep. 16, 2016

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