Families Contesting Wills Amid Rising House Prices Becomes Common in Vancouver

Home Values and Unfair Distribution Claims | Klein Lawyers

COVID-19 has impacted yet another aspect of life – the Vancouver housing market. According to CBC News, “The average selling price of a detached home in Greater Vancouver rose for the sixth straight month in January, the first time that had happened since 2013.” This increase in housing prices has caused an uptick in family members contesting wills, because the value of housing and real estate left in the will has increased. In fact, Vancouver has some of the highest housing prices in the world, and the coronavirus pandemic has only exacerbated that fact.

How Estate Planning Has Changed Over the Years

We always advocate the importance of having a will, but not updating your will could be just as bad as not having one at all. Consider this scenario:

A family with two children owns both a primary residence and a rental property in Vancouver. As recently as 15 years ago, the will would have likely said to leave one property to the firstborn child, and the second property to the other child.

However, this wouldn’t necessarily be a fair distribution of the estate as the values of the properties fluctuate over time. The rising prices for detached homes and the stable prices for condos/apartments are based on what type of properties is most in demand.

So, that rental property may not be as valuable as the single-family dwelling. However, housing trends change; this trend may not last. But for now, it is worthwhile considering how changing housing prices could affect your own, or a loved one’s, will. You should consider if it raises the possibility of someone bringing a case for the variation of a will.

Contesting a Will Based on Unfair Distributions

While there is no concrete evidence saying that the increase in court battles over the last year and a half is linked to the pandemic or rising property values, it’s safe to assume that one has greatly impacted the other.

Regardless of the cause, families are increasingly contesting wills claiming unfair distributions of property. While families can avoid this by reevaluating their wills, sometimes it’s simply too late and the wills variation process must commence.

In general, to claim unfair distributions, a scenario like a child receiving assets via a transfer and then receiving more within the will would be considered unfair to the other sibling. Unfair values of the property may also come into play.

Unfair Distribution Due to Rising Housing Prices? Call Klein Lawyers Today.

If you have any questions about the unfair distribution of assets due to the rising house prices in Vancouver or throughout British Columbia, Klein Lawyers can help.

Contact Klein Lawyers at (604) 874-7171 or online 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.