In British Columbia, very few people are entitled to contest the terms of your Will. Under section 2 of the Wills Variation Act, the Court may order a modification of the terms of your Will if it determines you have not made “adequate provision for the proper maintenance and support” of your spouse or children. In some cases, the Courts will vary the distribution of assets that you set out in your Will; alternatively, the Courts may add or remove beneficiaries.
ONLY your spouse and children may file a lawsuit under the Wills Variation Act. This legislation defines a spouse as either a legal husband/wife, or as someone you have been cohabitating with for a minimum of two years, in a marriage-like relationship. A child under the Act means your biological child or your adopted child, but not your step-child.
Check here to determine whether you have a claim related to a Predatory Marriage involving an elderly or incapacitated loved one.
What constitutes the legal end to a common-law relationship will be changing under the Wills, Estates and Succession Act, which is anticipated to be introduced in early 2013 (See Updates on WESA). If you are contemplating the end of a common-law relationship, or if you are revising your Will following the end of a common-law relationship, qualified legal advice is critical in today’s changing legal environment.
Other Claims Against Your Estate
Clients often express concerns that their siblings, business associates, former spouses and even friends, may attempt to disrupt the administration of their estate by claiming an entitlement to all or part of its assets. These relatives and associates do not have the right to make a claim under the Wills Variation Act.
While these individuals are not entitled to make legal claims to modify the distribution of assets as set out in your Will, they may be entitled to advance contractual or other claims. This means that if you owe someone money or if you are holding something that does not belong to you at the time of your death, your estate could be sued just as though you could be if you were still living.