BC Estate Disputes
Senior lawyers Trevor Todd and Judith Milliken Q.C. are equipped with the experience and knowledge required to handle estate disputes or fight a will involving an estate in British Columbia.
BC Wills Variation Act
The British Columbia Wills Variation Act permits a disinherited spouse or child of the deceased to seek a variation of a will, if he or she receives inadequate compensation under that will. The BC Wills Variation Act allows the disappointed beneficiary to challenge the will and seek redistribution of the
estate. The court is then entitled to direct a redistribution of an estate that is “adequate, just and equitable in the circumstances.”
Even if you are ineligible to bring a Wills Variation Act claim, you may have potential estate claim, such as a claim for unjust enrichment or constructive trust.
Power of Attorney - Breach of Trust
The person entrusted with power of attorney has special duties imposed by the law. He or she is deemed a trustee who holds a fiduciary duty to not use the Power of Attorney status for his or her personal benefit.
If the person holding power of attorney acts improperly, a breach of trust action may be used
to recover assets.
Property owned in Joint Tenancy
Joint ownership of property is often used to avoid probate fees; however, it can easily lead to contested estate disputes after the death of one owner.
For example, a deceased person may put the family home or bank account into joint tenancy with a family member, trusting that person to share the assets after death. This can lead to financial abuse by the surviving family member. A constructive trust claim may be filed to ensure the property is shared properly among the heirs, under the terms of the deceased’s last will.
Lack of Necessary Mental Capacity -- Undue Influence
Unfortunately, elder abuse is too common. One form of elder abuse can lead to a testator (person making a will) signing legal documents, such as a will or property transfer, without understanding the consequences.
A will may be found to
invalid if the deceased lacked testamentary capacity (the capacity to make a will), or if the deceased experienced influence from another person at the time the will was signed. A previous will might be reinstated, or the closest heirs might inherit.
In all estate disputes, it is crucial to move quickly, ensuring your claim is made before the deceased’s property is distributed. After distribution, you can no longer satisfy your claim.
For a will variation claim, there is a six-month time limit. This limit begins after the date probate is issued.
Free Legal Advice
Any information provided to this website is confidential and will not be disclosed. This advice is FREE; you will not be billed for legal fees.
The laws are different in each jurisdiction. If you have a problem concerning a non-BC estate, consult a local lawyer practicing where the estate is located.