Disputes often arise over the terms of a deceased’s will. The most common disputes occur when a spouse or child is left out of the will, or when a child receives a smaller share of the estate than other siblings. Other common disputes include disagreements over what assets form part of the estate to begin with, and whether the will-maker was unduly influenced, thus bringing into question whether the terms of the will reflect his or her true intentions. These disputes are often extremely emotional, pitting family members against each other.
Whether you are a person who wishes to create a will, a beneficiary who wishes to preserve the terms of a will, or a spouse or child who feels that you did not receive a proper share, the estate litigation lawyers in Vancouver at Bronson Jones & Company LLP can help.
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A will is perhaps the most important document that you can create because it governs how your life’s savings will be distributed upon your death. It can ensure your family is adequately provided for in accordance with your wishes and establish how your young children will be cared for. Without a will, intestate laws will govern how your estate is to be divided, which may or may not be consistent with your wishes.
The Wills, Estates and Succession Act provides broad discretion for judges to alter the terms of a will in order to ensure it is just and equitable. This could include situations where spouses and children are disinherited, where there is unequal distribution among children, or where one of the beneficiaries does not receive enough money to meet his or her needs.
Disinherited Children and Spouses
The Wills, Estates and Succession Act provides broad discretion for judges to alter the terms of a will in order to ensure it is just and equitable. This could include situations where spouses and children are disinherited, where there is unequal distribution among the children, or where one of the beneficiaries does not receive enough money to meet his or her needs.
There may be evidence that the terms of a person’s will were the result of coercion or the overbearing nature of another person, and that they do not accurately reflect the wishes of the deceased. If this is the case, a will’s validity may be challenged on the grounds of undue influence.
If a person dies without a valid will, he or she is deemed to have died “intestate” and the estate must be distributed in accordance with rigid, preset rules that are set out in the Wills, Estates and Succession Act (WESA).
The person appointed executor of a deceased’s will has many important responsibilities, examples of which may include the planning of a funeral, identifying and safeguarding assets, identifying beneficiaries, obtaining probate (a judicial process in which will is proven to be valid and authentic), selling properties, handling investments, and preparing income tax returns.