“Mom always liked you best!” may seem like a petty comment between siblings. But, when a parent treats their children unequally in their will, it can become a problem. Whether it be that a parent transfers gifts or assets to a child while alive, or a child was supposed to share such assets of the estate with other beneficiaries, unfair distributions cause issues in the estate process, and there may be a need for wills variation. Klein Lawyers explains.
What Are Unfair Distributions?
The act of favouring one family member over another within a will is known as unfair distribution. In general, this would include a parent transferring assets to one sibling while alive, then dividing the remainder of the estate equally within the will. For the child who received those transferred assets and then received more within the will, they would have a significantly larger portion of the estate than other siblings.
The Wills, Estates and Succession Act regulates estate distributions to ensure that adequate provisions are made for the care and maintenance of loved ones. In addition, the Act also examines wills that only benefit certain family members while others are excluded or treated unfairly. In cases of unfair distributions, wills variation is likely needed.
It is important to note that unfair distributions are different from “significantly unfair” distributions, as the latter is used to describe the division of marital assets in a divorce.
Time Limitations on Unfair Distribution Claims
If you have a claim of unfair distribution and need wills variation, you must act promptly. You have within 180 days of probate being granted by the court to seek a variation.
Remember, even if the will was drafted legally, as a spouse or child of the deceased, you have certain rights with respect to the division of the estate.
Note, however, that limitation periods are not black-and-white, in all circumstances. Even if 180 days have passed since the grant of probate, we encourage you to contact us about your wills variation claim.
When Unfair Distributions Are Not Actually Unfair
While it may seem like one person is getting a significant amount of the estate, it is critical to take into account situations where the division is still just. For example, if one child was taking care of the deceased prior to death, while the other was not involved in the care and finances of the parent, the court may decide that a will giving more to the caretaking child is just.
Having documentation will be paramount in these types of wills variation claims. Keeping records of expenses, visits, etc. will strengthen the case.
Unfair Distributions: Klein Lawyers Wills Variation
You would hope that families don’t pick favourite children, but sometimes they do. In cases where unfair distributions occur within a will, challenging the will may become necessary.
It can be a challenging process, but one that is needed when unfair distributions arise. Having a wills variation lawyer by your side to navigate the legal process will be critical to winning the maintenance and support you rightfully deserve.
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.