Estate Litigation Frequently Asked Questions

After a testator dies, family conflict can ensue if they disagree about matters of inheritance. Spouses or children can challenge a will if they believe they were treated unfairly by the testator.

What Are Common Reasons That Lead To Will Disputes?

  • A spouse or child received an inadequate share of the estate
  • Children or a spouse were left out of the will
  • Joint ownership of property held by the deceased with another party is disputed

Specifically, joint ownership triggers a right of survivorship after the passing of one of the owners. This right means that the property automatically becomes the property of the surviving owner. If the deceased owner left this property to someone else in the will, or if a family member disputes the joint ownership, litigation can ensue.

How Can I Dispute A Will?

There are two main ways to dispute a will. One is by challenging the validity of the will and the other is through an application to vary the will.

Challenging A Will

Beneficiaries can contest the testator's will for several reasons. Those include:

  • Lack of mental capacity of the deceased to create the will at the time the will was made
  • The will was improperly written
  • Fraud or mistake
  • Vague language

There is a strict limitation period imposed for individuals who wish to contest a will in court.

Applying To Vary A Will

A testator has a legal and moral obligation to provide for their spouses and children. If a will does not adequately provide for a surviving spouse or a child, it will very likely result in a wills variation claim. The court will then determine what amount of inheritance a claimant is entitled to receive from the estate. The action to vary a will must be commenced within six months of the grant of probate.

Is Going To Court The Best Option?

Where beneficiaries are concerned about the validity of a will or where it is believed that the will is unfair to spouses or children, and/or dependants, there may be justification to challenge a will. Each case is unique and requires the opinion of an experienced lawyer. Our lawyers can assess your case and give you an opinion. We can walk you through your options and find an optimal solution for your situation.

Get More Customized Answers To Your Questions

The Vancouver lawyers at Westside Family Law can assist you with your estate litigation questions and guide you through proceedings. Call us at 604-800-8853 to speak with one of our lawyers. You can also reach us through our online form.