Wills Variation FAQ

Common Wills Variation Questions | Klein Lawyers

In a previous blog, we explained the questions you should ask your Vancouver wills variation lawyer when you are about to undergo the estate litigation process. Today, we will share some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) in wills variation.

What Is Undue Influence?

Undue influence occurs when someone who is in a position of trust or power pressures another to act in a way that is not in their best interest. The individual asserting power over the will-maker can be a variety of individuals, most often a family member or a caregiver.

You can read more about undue influence here

What Happens If I Die Without a Will?

In British Columbia, if someone dies without a will, they have died intestate and the law in BC determines how the estate will be divided.

  • If there is a spouse and no descendants, the estate goes to the spouse.
  • If there is a spouse and descendants, the spouse gets at least part of the estate.
  • If there is more than one spouse, they share the spouse’s share equally unless the court determines otherwise.
  • If there is no spouse, then the estate is divided among the descendants equally.
  • If there was no spouse and no descendants, then the estate goes to their parents.

And so on.

What Factors Does the Court Consider in a Wills Variation Action?

In British Columbia wills variation cases, the court will consider the following:

  • 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 towards 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

You can learn more about aspects of wills variation here.

What Is Administration Pendente Lite?

Administration pendente lite, or administrator pendente lite, occurs when a situation arises where the executor is unable to act, or there is no executor or administrator at all, and the validity of the will or the estate is in question. In those cases, an administrator must be appointed to preserve the assets of the estate or “pending the litigation” ie. pendente lite.

What Is the Role of the Executor in a Wills Variation Case?

In British Columbia, the executor’s role is to carry out the administration of the estate according to its terms, whether they are original to the will or the terms imposed by a court under the Wills, Estate, and Succession Act.

What Are Designated Beneficiaries?

A designated beneficiary is a person who inherits an asset such as the balance of an individual retirement account (IRA) or life insurance policy after the death of the owner.

What If the Executor Has a Conflict of Interest with the Estate?

If the executor of the estate has a conflict of interest, the executor can be removed from their position, and a new, impartial one can be appointed.

What Is a Wills Variation Claim?

A wills variation claim helps to balance testamentary freedom and the certain moral obligations and expectations toward one’s spouse and children in leaving an estate behind.

What Can I Do If the Executor Is Not Doing Their Job Properly?

Just like an executor with a conflict of interest, if an executor is not doing their job properly, they can be removed and replaced.

Who Can Bring a Wills Variation Action?

Only spouses and children can bring forth wills variation claims in British Columbia.

Have Questions About Wills Variation? Call Klein Lawyers?

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.