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Can certain people be left out of wills in British Columbia?

Most people believe they should be fair when writing their estate plans. But when a British Columbia testator (one who writes a will) doesn't have children of his or her own and would like to leave assets to nieces and nephews, he or she may feel like those assets should be divided equally among those relatives. However, wills aren't one size fits all and if a testator feels closer to certain nieces and nephews than others and would like that reflected in an estate plan, he or she has every right to do so. 

As long as a will satisfies legal obligations, a person can leave his or her assets to whomever he or she pleases. A niece or nephew who would have received a share in intestacy had there been no will would have standing to contest the will if there are valid grounds to do so. Such may be the case in the instance of undue influence or testamentary capacity etc. 

People who are left out of wills can contest them if they believe they were left out after having been promised to be included or if the evidence suggests the will was written under pressure from others. Of course, a testator doesn't have to name a niece or nephew in the will just because that individual would have been entitled to an intestate share. The person challenging the will would have to establish by competent evidence that it is invalid (and that there's no other valid will prior to it) in order to be able to assert a claim in intestacy.

In any case, a British Columbia estate planning lawyer can advise his or her clients further about what it means to leave people out of wills. The attorney will make sure a client's rationale for leaving someone out is documented should the reasoning be needed later. Having a lawyer's advice on such confusing issues will ensure a will adheres to the rules of law.

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