Questions to Ask Your Vancouver Wills Variation Lawyer
Have a meeting planned with a Vancouver wills variation lawyer but not sure what questions to ask? Unsure if you need an estate litigation lawyer? Here are a few commonly asked questions to ask your wills variation lawyer.
What Is Wills Variation?
Wills variation, also known as estate litigation, is a legal claim brought forward by the child or spouse of a will-maker that has left inadequate provisions for the child’s/spouse’s maintenance or support, who now needs to change the terms of the will.
There are numerous reasons why the provisions of a will may be disputed by the surviving family members of the deceased. Such arguments include:
- Undue Influence
- Testamentary Capacity
- Unjust Enrichment
- Partition Of Property
Am I Entitled to Vary a Loved One’s Will?
In British Columbia, only select people are able to contest a loved one’s will. This includes spouses and children (biological and adopted).
What Can Be Gained in a Wills Variation Claim?
In a successful wills variation claim, your lawyers may also be able to negotiate a variance of the distribution of assets in your favour. However, the value of the variance will depend on the nature of the relationship between the deceased and the person seeking variation and the value of the assets. Factors a court may consider include:
- The value and nature of the estate’s assets
- The financial circumstances of the spouse or child challenging the will
- The financial circumstances of the other beneficiaries
- The character and conduct of the spouse or child toward the deceased
- Whether the spouse or child was dependent financially on the deceased and to what extent
- Evidence of the will-maker’s reasons for not fairly providing for their spouse or child
Can I Prove I Was Wrongfully Disinherited?
To prove you have been wrongfully disinherited, you will need to consider a number of factors:
- Did the will-maker have a moral and legal obligation to leave adequate provision for the proper maintenance and support of you?
- Is the will the only estate planning document which has disinherited you?
- Was there a history of abuse, lack of family connection, etc.?
These factors will either show that you have been properly disinherited or if there are grounds for a will contest.
Do Stepchildren Count as Children in Wills Variation?
Under The Wills, Estates and Succession Act, stepchildren are not able to vary a will in British Columbia. However, if a blended family exists and the stepparents want to formally adopt the stepchild or stepchildren, those children are then entitled to inheritance and can undergo the wills variation process should it need to occur.
There is also the option to explicitly provide for stepchildren in a will, if they were not formally adopted.
Is My Will Valid?
Under the Wills, Estates and Succession Act, a will is valid if:
- The will is in writing;
- Signed by the will-maker;
- The signature is made or acknowledged by the will-maker in the presence of two or more witnesses who are present at the same time;
- Two or more witnesses must sign the will in the presence of the will-maker;
- The will-maker is at least 16 years of age; and
- The witnesses must be at least 19 years old.
If these factors do not exist, the will may not be valid.
Questions for our Wills Variation Lawyers? Call Klein Lawyers Today.
Contact Klein Lawyers at (604) 874-7171 today for a free, confidential case evaluation. Our wills variation lawyers serve clients throughout British Columbia from offices in Vancouver, Abbotsford, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Langley, and Surrey.