Garton & Harris

What loved ones can do when omitted from wills

When British Columbia residents are omitted from the will of a loved one, it can cause many emotions to surface, such as sadness and anger. Once they have come to terms with what has happened, they might be able to think more logically and then realize there are some things they may be able to do to remedy the issue. In fact, wills have been the reason for many litigation cases in the last few years. 

The testator - or the person who wrote the will - may have not been in the greatest mental health when the will was written. Perhaps, the testator was suffering from a cognitive disorder like dementia, and leaving a particular individual out of the will was not intentional. In any case, the estate can be challenged for this type of reason.

That is not the only reason a will can be challenged. If the testator was under the undue influence of someone at the time the will was written, that too is grounds for challenge. Other reasons include improper or no signatures on the document or no witness to it. It is important to note, however, that not just anyone can contest a will. Challengers are usually a spouse and/or dependent children -- in other words, those who have a financial stake in the estate.

The laws surrounding wills and estate planning in British Columbia can be involved and complex. Obtaining legal counsel prior to and during the drafting of a will may help to avoid these sorts of possible complications. A lawyer's advice could also prove imperative to those who believe they were wrongfully left out of a loved one's will. 

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