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.


  • It has been my experience that Neal Steinman conducts his practice, and himself, in accordance with the highest ethical standards and consistently exhibits sound judgment. He has the ability to effectively analyze complex legal issues, resulting in the provision of practical advice to efficiently resolve matters.
    -Senior Counsel in Litigation
  • Neal's all-round excellent legal abilities are coupled with a rare and genuine concern and interest in the well-being of his clients, not only the outcome of their legal issues. His highly competent approach to files frequently employs his unique inventiveness to achieve his clients’ objectives.
    -Counsel in Commercial Litigation
  • Neal has always proven excellent and wise counsel in a range of situations.
    -Counsel in Commercial Litigation
  • Neal treats each client with respect and provides legal services that are designed to meet the client's unique needs. I have referred Neal to my clients and have received very positive feedback. Neal is an excellent lawyer and I recommend his services.
    -Senior Attorney in Commercial Litigation
  • Neal's personal attention to cases and practical advice have served his clients well for over 25 years. He is an excellent litigator and one of the best negotiators in the British Columbia bar, and has represented clients in the insurance industry ranging from large, self-insured corporations to traditional insurance companies.
    -Attorney in Commercial Defense
  • Neal S. Steinman is one of the most knowledgeable, experienced, professional and skilled civil litigators, or barristers, I have ever known. After twenty (20) or so years of practice and having started over 100+ civil Trials, mostly Jury matters, one gets to recognize and respect real talent. Neal S. Steinman has a litigation skill set, both inside the court room and in the board room of a mediation, discovery, or pre-trial, second to very few. I would highly recommend retaining Neal S. Steinman
    -Senior Partner in Civil Litigation
  • In my dealings with Neal Steinman, I am consistently impressed with his analytical ability, his judgment, and his integrity. He is tactful and strategic, but never afraid to stand up for what's right. This is a lawyer I would want in my corner.
    -Counsel in Litigation
  • I have known Neal Steinman for over 30 years. He is a creative, entrepreneurial smart and practical lawyer whose communications skills are top-notch.
    -Partner in Civil Litigation
  • I am a tax partner and managing partner of my own tax boutique firm. I do not do any civil litigation work. I have referred a number of client matters to Neal Steinman over the years. He is an excellent lawyer and always obtained good results for my clients.
    -Attorney in Civil Litigation
  • Neal is an exceptional trial lawyer with good instincts for litigating and settling cases. He is one of the best prepared, most articulate, and practical counsel you can find, having honed his skills at the highest levels of practice at every level of court in British Columbia.
    -Attorney in Commercial Litigation
  • Neal brings a strong combination of experience, ethics, and energy to his practice. He is practical, problem-solving lawyer who is also unafraid to step into the courtroom when needed.
    -Counsel in Civil litigation
  • Neal is a very capable and skilled lawyer who thinks well on his feet and in the crunch of the moment in argument before the Bench. He is personable polite respectful of peers and well prepared. He finds practical and direct solutions to varied litigation problems. He is a capable navigator of the Court process and is very experienced, especially in defending commercial, estate litigation and motor vehicle accident claims. He works cooperatively with other team lawyers when it is required.
    -Senior Counsel in Commercial Litigation