While a testator can disinherit his or her children and spouse, the Wills, Estates and Succession Act (WESA) gives them the right to ask for a variance of the terms of the will. That means that they are asking the court to provide them with an adequate inheritance despite the will-maker's intentions.
The law in British Columbia is that will-makers have a moral responsibility to write a will that ensures there is proper maintenance and support for close family members. Therefore, WESA allows a spouse or a child to challenge the terms of a will if they believe they were treated unfairly.
Courts will examine a number of factors to determine what proper provisions means for a spouse or a child. Those factors can include the size of the estate, the relationship between the will-maker and the disinherited person, and that person’s finances.
A will can also be challenged if it is invalid. This can happen for a number of reasons, including:
- the will was improperly commissioned
- the will-maker did not have mental capacity at the time
- there was undue influence, fraud, or coercion on the will-maker
Undue influence is a major cause of will challenges and can lead to plenty of sleepless and stressful nights for those worried about the validity of a will. Knowing that a loved one's true intentions may not have been respected because of another person's own self-interest is a difficult realization for many people to go through. However, following changes brought into law by WESA, challenging the validity of a will on the basis of undue influence may now be easier for some individuals.
The lawyers at Westside Family Law have guided clients through complex estate litigation matters for over three decades. We can provide you with knowledgeable, efficient representation. Fill out the contact form below to set up a free consultation with a lawyer, or call us at 604-734-7911 to get started.