Garton & Harris

The recourse to being left out of wills in British Columbia

Wills can stir up all kinds of emotions, and some of them are not very nice. When British Columbia residents who have expected to be named in wills find that they have been left out, there may be feelings of anger, hurt and resentment. But even though challenging a will can be costly and nerve-wracking, more Canadians are doing so. There is a chance of winning such litigation.

More people have amassed more wealth over the last few years with people living longer. So, more people are challenging wills, questioning the mental capacity of testators (or the people who wrote the wills). Another popular reason for challenging a will is undue influence. Was the testator coerced into leaving out certain individuals? A will can also be challenged on the grounds of improper execution, or perhaps the will wasn't witnessed at all or was witnessed improperly.

There are times when a will might be challenged for more than one reason. But not everyone in Canada is free to challenge a will. Usually, that is the right of a spouse or dependent children. But British Columbia is unique in that respect because B.C. law also allows adult children to make a claim regarding a will of a parent. The law in B.C. says that there is a moral obligation to include adult children in a will if there are sufficient assets.

Wills can be confusing documents. British Columbia residents may have an easier time of writing a will with the guidance of a lawyer. A lawyer will know what is important to include in a will and what doesn't need to be documented. Such an important estate planning document should be written to the letter of the law to save heirs from possible problems when it is time to put the contents of the will to the test.

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