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B.C. law limits those who wish to challenge a will

If a loved one dies and leaves behind a will, the deceased likely expects the will to convey his or her desires for the distribution of the estate. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. Occasionally, the heirs to a British Columbia estate dispute the contents of a will, especially when the amount of inheritance is much lower than they expected or they are omitted from the will altogether. When this happens, they may question whether they have the right to challenge a will and how to start the process.

While those who create wills generally have the right to distribute their assets as they please, the law protects spouses and children of will-makers by allowing them to challenge a will that does not adequately provide for them. Those in this situation may file a wills variation claim, which asks the court to consider a fairer division of property. British Columbia also recognizes as spouses those who lived as a married couple for the last two years of the deceased's life.

A will that seems valid in all respects may still face challenges if the family believes the will-maker was not mentally competent to execute a will. This means the deceased did not understand that he or she was making a will or the consequences of the will. He or she may have had no understanding of the extent of the estate or those who should have logically received the property.

To challenge a will for any reason is complicated and risky. Those undertaking this task have a limited time to present their claims to a British Columbia probate court. Since there is much at stake, many in this situation seek the guidance of an experienced legal professional to help them reach their goal of convincing the court to change the terms of a will.

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