In British Columbia, people have general autonomy to write their wills how they want. This autonomy comes with certain qualifications. Will-makers must make adequate provisions for their spouse and children. If they fail to do so, a court can vary the will in a manner that is adequate, just and equitable in the circumstances.
A spouse disinherited in a will, or who seeks to claim that the amount left for him or she was not just or adequate, can launch a legal claim. Laughlin & Company Lawyers Mediators in Port Coquitlam represents spouses in such actions, or we can provide counsel to those who seek to uphold the provisions of the deceased’s will.
Defining What Is Adequate, Just And Equitable
A court will look at several factors to determine whether a spouse’s portion of the estate was sufficient in the circumstances. First, the person in question must be considered a spouse of the deceased. Married people and those in common-law relationships qualify. Then, a court will look to the deceased’s legal obligations under family law to support his or her spouse. A court may also take into account the “moral” or “expected” obligations according to social norms.
As in many estate litigation cases, there can be a great deal of disagreement as to what a spouse is owed under the terms of the estate. For that reason, legal cases can be complex. The Port Coquitlam lawyers at Laughlin & Company are particularly well-suited to represent clients in these cases, not simply because of their extensive history as litigators and comprehensive estate practice; our team members are also mediators committed to the out-of-court resolution of disputes. We not only know what might be fair in the circumstances, but what is the most effective legal process to arrive at a just result.
To learn more about varying the terms of a will in British Columbia or to receive legal advice from our lawyers, contact us for a consultation. Call the firm at 604-945-4370 or get in touch online. We serve the Tri-Cities municipalities of Port Moody, Poco, and Coquitlam as well as the broader Lower Mainland.