Garton & Harris

What British Columbians should do when left out of wills

There may be nothing more disturbing or emotionally upsetting to someone than being left out of a loved one's will, other than the loved one's passing. For British Columbia residents who believe they've somehow been slighted in regard to wills, there is some recourse, but time is of the essence. In many cases, anyone who contests a will must show that there was either something wrong with the testator's mental capacity or that the testator was coerced when writing the will or that the will is altogether fraudulent.

Only family members have the right to contest a will and it doesn't always come without cost. If a testator talked with a loved one about being included in a will and was then left out, that person must try to write down as much as possible he or she can remember from the conversation(s) and try to estimate, based on the value of the estate, how much he or she believes is owed. The person may wish to consult with a lawyer to see what his or her options might be.

The first step in contesting a will is to get a copy of the most current will of the testator. Failing all else, anyone can obtain a copy from the probate court. All wills in British Columbia are on public record.

A British Columbia lawyer experienced in dealing with wills, may be able to advise a client on whether or not a will is worth contesting. After reviewing a client's reasons, a lawyer may be able to advise a client whether or not it is worth proceeding. It may be difficult to contest a will, but not impossible. 

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