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Estate litigation- Left out of the Will-for the wrong reasons

If you are left out of your parent's will, it is likely that there is a memo stating the reasons as to why you have been disinherited. A lawyer taking instructions for a will has to consider whether the will is vulnerable to an attack by a disinherited child. If a child is not given an appropriate share of their parent's estate, the lawyer will ask the will-maker the reasons why. These reasons are often recorded in a written document that is not disclosed until the will is questioned.

Not all reasons given can support the disinheritance of a child. The reasons given must be valid in the sense that they are based on fact. In a recent case, a parent stated that he had made gifts of considerable value to his son. In fact, the gifts were of a very modest value and the parent had sued the son to recover one of the gifts. The Court held that the father's reasons were not valid. Also, the reasons given must be rational in the sense that they is a logical connection between the reasons given and the act of disinheritance. In one case, a mother disinherited her son because he did not successfully fix her fridge. The Court held that that was not a rational reason to disinherit her son.

The courts have kept up with social norms and held that a parent cannot disinherit a child for their sexual orientation.

Dale W. Darychuk, Q.C. has over 35 years of experience in estate litigation. If you have an estate dispute that you would like to discuss, we offer free consultation and can be reached at 604-256-3405 or email us at [email protected].

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