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Wills can avoid disputes over ownership of assets

In many British Columbia families, there may be certain assets that are cherished and coveted by more than one person. A business owner, for example, may have several children who aspire to take over the company at some point, or a mother may own a precious piece of jewelry that two daughters each hope to inherit. When estate owners fail to make wills to stipulate how to divide their property, they may leave their families struggling to resolve these matters, potentially in court.

A will can reduce the amount of friction survivors experience after the death of a family member. However, without a will, an estate owner may also leave a common-law spouse or long-term partner with no claim to an inheritance. In some provinces, the law does not recognize those relationships when it comes to probate. In those provinces that do recognize common-law marriages, those partners may find themselves fighting in court for the inheritance they deserve.

The ownership of certain assets may also be an issue. For example, it is not uncommon for parents to deed their home to one child but expect the child to share its value with the siblings. If no will stipulates this division, the siblings may have to fight for their share of the estate.

It is true that many family rifts during probate may be avoided if the deceased prepared a will. However, in the cases where no wills exist, the heirs may face a contest to determine how to fairly divide the estates. Anyone in British Columbia in such a situation would be wise to reach out for legal advice to improve the chances of obtaining a fair share of their inheritance.

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