wills and estate litigation

At Steinmans Trial Lawyers, we regularly act for clients involved in the following issues:

  • Allegations of undue influence
  • Claims of lack of capacity
  • Attacking transfers of real estate
  • Challenging transfers of property
  • Executors and trustees breaching their fiduciary duty
  • Challenging power of attorney
  • Failure of executor or trustee to administer the estate
  • Claims under the Wills Estates and Succession Act

Wills and estate litigation is a complex and unique area of law. Our clients in this area fall into two categories: those who feel aggrieved and wish to challenge a loved one’s will, trust or the administration of the estate (plaintiffs), and those who have had legal action taken against them (defendants).

No matter which side you are on, at Steinmans Trial Lawyers, our lawyers will work to protect your interests and to achieve the most favourable result. We begin by quickly identifying and interviewing witnesses and acquaintances of the deceased person, also referred to as the testator. Gathering statements and documentation can uncover valuable evidence that may affect the outcome of the case.

Wills and Estate litigation in British Columbia

Wills and Estate litigation occurs when an individual or group of people seek to challenge the will or estate based on a number of reasons. A child may wish to dispute a transfer of property to a sibling or stepparent. Or, a grandchild may seek to challenge a recent change to an elderly grandparent’s will, based on undue influence or lack of capacity.

If you wish to dispute a will or estate, speak to our lawyers. We have significant experience in this challenging area. Conversely, if you require a strong defence during wills and estate litigation in Vancouver, we are well qualified to represent you.

If you believe an invalid will has been executed because these circumstances have occurred, or this situation also supports a larger claim of elder abuse, it is critical to seek out a lawyer who can help you rectify the situation and protect the vulnerable person’s wishes and well-being.

Spouses and children may make claims to vary a will.

There is a short limitation period for starting an action to change or vary a will.  An action must be commenced within 180 days from the date the representation grant is issued: Wills Estates and Succession Act, S.B.C. 2009, c. 13 (“WESA”). A  representation grant includes the grant of probate of a will in British Columbia or  the grant of administration of the estate of a deceased person with or without a will.

WESA has no provision which allows the extension of this time limit.  It is important to get a lawyer involved quickly or it may be too late.

Lack of testamentary capacity is often alleged in situations where the will-maker suffered from dementia. This includes an increasing number of diagnoses of Alzheimer’s disease. Steinmans Trial Lawyers have prosecuted and defended cases where an elderly person decides to give real estate to a son or daughter  when the elderly person is alleged to have been suffering from dementia.

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