Category: Estate Litigation

When Should You Be Suspicious of a Will? | Klein Lawyers

Suspicious Circumstances When Making a Will

You may believe that because a will meets British Columbia’s validity rules, that it must be accepted by the court. But what happens when the “technical” aspects of the will’s creation add up, but something still doesn’t seem right? Here is what you need to know about suspicious circumstances when a will is made. What […]

When Can Families Dispute a Bequest in a Will? | Klein Lawyers

When The Family Doesn’t Agree with a Bequest

In November 2020, a Vancouver family contested in court a bequest made in their great-aunt’s will in favour of the SPCA. The deceased, Eleena Murray, had created a will written in 2003 that granted the B.C. SPCA the residue of her estate (money left over after assets of the deceased are liquidated, and all the […]

Navigation of Conflicting Interests in Wills Variation | Klein Lawyers

How Competing Interests in a Deceased Estate Are Determined

We know that in British Columbia estate litigation, the executor of the deceased’s estate must be impartial. However, when the executor of a will is biased or has a conflict of interest, issues may arise, especially in cases of wills variation. The estate litigation lawyers of Klein Lawyers explain. Biased Executors and Estate Litigation When […]

Home Values and Unfair Distribution Claims | Klein Lawyers

Families Contesting Wills Amid Rising House Prices Becomes Common in Vancouver

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 […]

Common Wills Variation Questions | Klein Lawyers

Wills Variation FAQ

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 […]

Distribution of an Intestate Estate | Klein Lawyers

What Happens in BC If There Is No Will?

If a member of your family dies with a will in place, the will should provide direction for the distribution of his or her estate. But, if your loved one died without a will (he or she died intestate), the distribution of assets is governed by statute in British Columbia. If a loved one dies […]

Is a Will Valid When Witnessed Virtually? | Klein Lawyers

The Potential Issues with Virtual Witnesses of Wills

The British Columbia Government has introduced legislation to enable courts to accept electronic wills and to permit the remote witnessing of wills. However, the shift in virtual wills witnessing has led to some complications in estate litigation. Virtual Witness to Wills As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has allowed witnesses of wills […]

Multiple Spousal Relationships in Wills Variation | Klein Lawyers

Involved in Two Spousal Relationships? Each Gets Half of Your Estate.

Following the case involving a “secret family,” the British Columbia Supreme Court has confirmed that a deceased person can have more than one concurrent “spousal relationship” at the time of death. This means that the ‘second family’ is generally entitled to half of the estate. Klein Lawyers explains. What Is a Spousal Relationship? Under the […]

How Tradition Can Impact Wills Distribution | Klein Lawyers

Unequal Treatment of Sons vs. Daughters in Wills: Tradition-Based Preference

In a previous blog, we covered the case of four sisters who challenged a last will and testament where they were bequeathed only 1.7 percent of their parent’s estate while the two brothers were bequeathed 93 percent between them. The court ultimately ruled in the sisters’ favor and the estate was redistributed. However, this presents […]

Can You Contest an Unfair Will in British Columbia? | Klein Lawyers

British Columbia Will Contested Because It’s “Unfair”

In British Columbia, a will may be contested if the will-maker did not leave adequate provisions for their spouse and children. In addition, the Wills, Estates and Succession Act (WESA) recognizes the moral obligation of a testator to provide for the maintenance and support of a spouse and children. Typically, the courts will review the […]

Who Has the Right to Challenge a Will? | Klein Lawyers

Who Can Contest a Will in British Columbia?

Most people do all they can to take care of their loved ones. This mindset applies in preparing for death as well as in life. Making a will is an important step of providing support to family members in the event of one’s passing. Unfortunately, some wills fail to make adequate provision for loved ones […]

Why Motives Matter in Disinheritance Disputes | Klein Lawyers

Twins Abandoned & Disinherited By Father Awarded 70% of His Estate

Bitterness will get you nowhere, especially when the person you are bitter with has already passed away. A father of twins was bitter that a custody battle didn’t go his way. Accordingly, he specifically disinherited his twins. The twins took the disinheritance to court – they were awarded 70 percent of his estate by a […]

Are Wills Valid When Witnessed by Beneficiaries? | Klein Lawyers

Beneficiaries as Witnesses to the Will: Is the Will Still Valid?

In order for a British Columbia will to be valid, it must meet the following criteria: The will is in writing; It is 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 […]

Top Questions for a Wills Variation Lawyer | Klein Lawyers

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 […]

When Do You Have the Right to an Estate? | Klein Lawyers

Who Is Entitled to an Estate?

For any family, the loss of a loved one represents a tragedy. Although we all hope that this traumatic event would bring surviving loved ones closer together, the unfortunate reality is that disputes between family members can outlive the deceased. One of the major sources of contention after a death in the family is who […]

What If a Will Is Lost or Gets Damaged? | Klein Lawyers

What Happens to a Lost or Damaged Will?

Be it inadequate file saving or perhaps the intent to revoke a will, for some families, the reality that the will of a loved one has been lost or damaged can be troubling. But, how does the court handle lost or damaged wills, and what happens if you have a claim against the estate? Klein […]

Wills Variation When Pets Are Involved | Klein Lawyers

Fido Was Left Everything? How to Undergo Wills Variation When Pets Are Involved

We all know a pet owner who treats their four-legged friend as a child. But when the pet owner leaves Fido everything and their children and spouse nothing, what can be done? While these situations are not common, it doesn’t mean they don’t or won’t happen. Klein Lawyers explains your rights in a wills variation […]

Interpretation and Construction of Wills in BC | Klein Lawyers

Interpreting Wills In British Columbia Under the WESA

When the court interprets a will, they are attempting to find the will-maker’s subjective intention by examining the words he or she used. However, when the court is unable to determine the will-maker’s intentions, they will undergo construction, which is the “application of various rules and presumptions that the court may apply if the court […]

Wills Variation Statute of Limitations in BC | Klein Lawyers

Statute of Limitations of Contesting a British Columbia Will

There are a number of reasons why a family may choose to contest a will. But no matter the reason, the wills variation process is not always straightforward–and you are always on a limited timeframe. It’s important to know the statute of limitations of contesting a British Columbia will–and Klein Lawyers can help. The Will […]

What Does the Executor of an Estate Do? | Klein Lawyers

Your Role as the Estate, Will Executor in British Columbia

Wills in British Columbia typically name an executor or an administrator to be responsible for carrying out the instructions of the will. Though the executor or administrator may be one person, in some cases it may be several people. But what is your role as the will executor? Klein Lawyers explains. Executor Roles As the […]

Issues That Lead to Temporary Lack of Testamentary Capacity | Klein Lawyers

What Happens When Lack of Testamentary Capacity Is Temporary?

We often discuss the problems that occur when a loved one is believed to have drafted a will when experiencing a lack of testamentary capacity, undue influence, etc. While we often think of these as long-term issues that invalidate a will, what happens when a lack of testamentary capacity is temporary? Klein Lawyers explains. Complications […]

How Charitable Gifts Affect Estate Litigation | Klein Lawyers

Charitable Gifts Impact on Estate Litigation

For those in British Columbia who leave charitable gifts in their wills, the intention is well-meaning–to provide financial support to a cause that is important to the will-maker. Unfortunately, these charitable gifts can sometimes be laden with errors, leading to estate litigation, family disagreements, and financial loss to those intended beneficiaries. However, these potential pitfalls […]

Why Estates Are Litigated | Klein Lawyers

Common Reasons a Will May Undergo Estate Litigation

There are a variety of reasons why a will may be disputed and need to undergo estate litigation. However, many estate litigation lawyers find that some situations appear more often than others. If you are a spouse or child who feels that something is amiss with a loved one’s will, you may be considering whether […]

Solicitor-Client Privilege in Estate Litigation | Klein Lawyers

Estate Litigation and Solicitor-Client Privilege

As held in British Columbia (Attorney General) v. Lee, 2017 BCCA 219, solicitor-client privilege has “evolved from a rule of evidence to ‘a fundamental and substantive rule of law.’” As such, the privilege must remain as absolute as possible once privilege has been established and from there, applies “to all communications made within the framework […]

Understanding the WESA Dispensing Provision | Klein Lawyers

What Is the Dispensing Provision Under the WESA?

The intent of the Wills, Estates and Succession Act (“WESA“) has been to honor the full wishes of the testator in their will. However, in order to do so, the Act has created a dispensing provision that gives power to the courts to determine what constitutes a valid will. Under Section 58 of the WESA, […]

Why You and Your Spouse Should Make Separate Wills | Klein Lawyers

Should Spouses Make Separate Wills?

You and your spouse may think the best way to avoid estate litigation upon passing is to create one will for the both of you. That way, each party’s wishes are accounted for. Unfortunately, it doesn’t actually work that way–spouses need to make separate wills specifically to avoid estate litigation in the future. Klein Lawyers […]

When to Dispute a Will | Klein Lawyers

Is It Worth Disputing a Will?

When you have been disinherited or a loved one has not provided adequate maintenance for you or your children, you likely are not only concerned about your own future, but of the cost of estate litigation. If it’s an issue with your spouse’s will, you most likely not only want to but will need to […]

Your Rights in Wills Variation Claims | Klein Lawyers

Your Rights in a Wills Variation Claim

In British Columbia wills variation claims, only spouses and children (adopted and biological) have the right to vary a deceased loved one’s will. However, changes to the Family Law Act have made some families question if their rights in a wills variation claim have been altered–especially when the deceased was involved in a short term […]

How British Columbia Defines a Spouse

What Constitutes a ‘Spouse’ Under WESA?

The Wills, Estates and Succession Act (WESA) is the legislation that governs the probate process in British Columbia. Crucial to wills variation cases under the WESA is the question of standing, or sufficient cause and connection to the case to initiate legal action. Spouses have the right to challenge a deceased loved one’s will if […]

When to Hire an Estate Lawyer

Do I Need an Estate Litigation Lawyer?

You may think that as long as there is an estate plan, such as a will, there is no need to hire an estate litigation lawyer. Unfortunately, many families do not realize there are errors in the will or other estate planning documents until it’s too late. When it comes to wills variation in British […]

How COVID-19 Affects the Capacity to Make a Will

Testamentary Capacity & COVID-19: What You Need to Know

COVID-19 has complicated daily life, and the legal system has not been immune to it. With many families creating their estate plans to plan for the future should something happen, the question of how the coronavirus impacts an individual’s testamentary capacity has come into play. Here’s what you need to know about testamentary capacity and […]

Undue Influence in Wills Variation Cases

Signs of Undue Influence

When you have an elderly or disabled loved one, it’s easy to become concerned that the people caring for them or spending extended amounts of time with them are pressuring them into choices outside of their control. In many cases, this fear is unfounded but, when your loved one passes and suddenly elements of their […]

What Rights Do Stepchildren Have in Contesting a Will?

Stepchildren’s Rights in Will Variation

Under The Wills, Estates and Succession Act, stepchildren are not able to vary a will in British Columbia. But does this mean that stepchildren have no rights? The modern family is often blended, so now more than ever, many families are wondering whether or not there is any legal room for them. Klein Lawyers explains […]

Choose Wills Variation Lawyer

How to Choose a Wills Variation Lawyer in British Columbia

Many people believe that they can handle the legal matters of a loved one’s estate without issue and without a lawyer. However, when problems arise with a loved one’s will and you need to undergo estate litigation, you may feel overwhelmed. But how do you choose a wills variation lawyer in British Columbia? Klein Lawyers […]

Capacity for Drafting a Legally Valid Will

What Is Testamentary Capacity?

The capacity of an individual to make a legally valid will is often the subject of dispute in estate litigation. Because the Wills, Estates and Succession Act of British Columbia does not provide a definition for capacity, and the law in British Columbia has adopted a presumption that qualified individuals are capable of making a […]