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Why Can Wills Be Changed in B.C.?

British Columbia is home to unique estates laws for its residents. The laws allow for wills not just to be challenged on grounds of validity, but also for fairness.

If you are a surviving spouse or adult child, and you have been unfairly disinherited from a loved one’s estate, you may have grounds to challenge the will. There are a number of requirements in order to prove unfair treatment, as some individuals exclude people from a will for valid reasons.

These unique laws were called into question a few years ago, with some legal professionals calling for revisions. According to an article on the CBC website, the laws were challenged and lobbyists were fighting for revisions, but the decision to keep the existing legislation that allowed contests on fairness were upheld in the end.

The idea that adult children can be allowed to request a will variance is based on fighting unfair discrimination. For example, some households tend to favour sons over daughters, which can sometimes leave daughters at a disadvantage when the estate is parcelled out.

Parents are allowed to disinherit their children if they choose. And many parents have legitimate reasons for doing so. Judges make sure to consider the wishes of the testator when deciding on an estate matter. It is not the intent of a judge to rewrite a will just because a surviving family member is unhappy. Wills are generally upheld unless there is a valid ground for which a descendant can make a claim that he or she was inadequately accounted for within the will.

If you have questions about where you were unfairly or disproportionately left out of a will, it’s best to consult with an experienced estates lawyer. He or she will be able to help you identify your rights, and what legal actions you can pursue to protect your interests.

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