British Columbia has an aging population. While wills are a vital tool in an estate plan, they can often lead to conflict. A disinherited child has the right to ask the Supreme Court of British Columbia to seek to vary their parent’s will pursuant to the Wills Estates and Succession Act. The Court may choose to change a will so that it is “just and equitable in the circumstances.” The Court may also change a Will if it can be shown, with appropriate evidence, that the deceased intended something different.
Timothy and his team of estate law practitioners welcome potential clients who have been disinherited, or view themselves as unfairly treated, for a complimentary initial consultation. If you are the executor of an estate, you hold enormous responsibility. Timothy is happy to guide you through the process in order to avoid conflicts and unnecessary stress as well as to defend against non – meritorious claims against the estate or executors.
Estate Law & Wills – Q & A
My mother passed away and in her will left everything to someone other than me, what can I do?
If your father is still living and your mother left everything to him there may not be many options open to you. If your mother survived your father and her Will leaves nothing for you (for example giving everything to her new husband) then you are entitled to seek the intervention of the Supreme Court of British Columbia to have your mother’s Will changed so that it makes what the Court considers to be a just and equitable provision for you. There are strict time limits on doing this so you need to consult a lawyer promptly.
My husband or spouse passed away and left everything to his children in his will, what can I do?
If your spouse or husband does not make adequate provision for you in his Will you are entitled to seek to vary the Will pursuant to the Wills Estates and Succession Act. There are strict time limits on doing this so you need to consult a lawyer promptly.
My Aunt took my grandmother to get a new will created just before she died. The new will leaves me nothing. I believe I would have received a lot in the old will. What can I do?
As a grandchild, you do not have standing to try and vary the Will under the Wills Estates and Succession Act but you can try and have the entire Will set aside, especially if the new will was done at a time when your grandmother was not competent or if she was vulnerable to undue influence from the new beneficiaries. A lawyer can help to file the proper documents to prevent the questionable Will from being probated. In this case you will need to retain experts and collect all of the appropriate medical records to determine if your grandmother was competent at the time the new will was created. Consult an estate lawyer to ensure the best possible outcome.
After my father passed away my sister was POA for my mother and she is also the executor of my mother’s estate. I suspect that my sister took money from my mother while she was living but now refuses to deal with this issue and the estate is worth way less than what I had expected. What can I do?
The POA Act requires that the person who is appointed be able to quantify the assets at the time they took over and that they be able to account for their actions in detail. The starting point is a letter to the sister in their capacity of former POA demanding that they account pursuant to the POA Act. If you are not satisfied with their response or there is none then the next step may be to seek to bring legal proceedings against the sister within the estate by way of s. 151 of the Wills estates and Succession Act or to remove the executor for conflict of interest. It is important that you act quickly and it is advisable that you seek legal advice with respect to these matters because there are strict time limits on doing this.
Nanaimo wills and estate lawyer Timothy J. Huntsman** would be pleased to meet with you to discuss your estate law issue.
*Denotes An Association of Law Corporations
**Denotes Timothy J. Huntsman Law Corporation