Has your parent or spouse left you out of their will? You may have recourse under the Wills and Estate Succession Act.
In British Columbia, each person’s will must make adequate provision for the proper maintenance and support of spouses and children. If they do not, the court may order the estate to make those provisions in a way that is “adequate, just, and equitable.”
In considering whether to change the will, the court must consider the legal and moral obligations of the will-maker to their spouse and children. Legal obligations are those enforced by law, and moral obligations are the reasonable expectation of the way a judicious person would make provisions for their children or spouse given their existing and available resources.
Who can apply for a will variation?
Any spouse or child who has been wrongfully disinherited may petition the court to sue under WESA. The court will investigate whether or not the will has failed to meet the standard of adequate provision. You will need to provide evidence of a lack of support.
When determining whether an individual is eligible, the courts will consider the relationship between the petitioner and the will-maker, promises made to the petitioner, any misconduct the spouse or child might have been involved with, the type of support given during the individual’s life, the size of the estate, and the needs of the spouse or the child.
You will need a WESA attorney who can help you tell your story to the court. We will make a strong case throughout the course of your wills and estate litigation.
What are the grounds for disinheritance?
WESA does not take away a person’s right to distribute their assets as they see fit, nor does it take away a person’s right to disinherit. There are some grounds under which a spouse or a child may be written out of a will.
Spite is not a good enough reason to disinherit. The will-maker must clearly set out grounds for disinheritance in the will. Those grounds must be accurate, and must meet acceptable societal grounds. Clear grounds for disinheriting adult children could include proof the child was stealing from the will-maker, a criminal background or record, or abandonment of the parents. A parent may not disinherit a child just because they favor another child.
Disinheriting a spouse is much harder. Sometimes it can be done by showing other provisions were made, or by showing the spouse has significant assets of their own.
Claim your inheritance with help from a WESA lawyer from Merchant Law.
If you’ve been unfairly disinherited don’t delay. You’ll need to act fast to contest the will, as your ability to contest the will is governed by strict guidelines.
We have decades of wills and estates experience and can help you litigate your case. Call (604) 609-7777 to schedule an appointment today.