Estate disputes most often occur when someone does not agree with the way estate administration tasks are being handled by the executor, or they take issue with the way a will has divided the personal assets of the deceased. Even the best written will can leave those left behind with many questions that can turn into conflicts. Outdated wills that don’t reflect the reality of the current family situation are one of the leading causes of estate litigation disputes, which is why it’s so important to regularly review your will to ensure it still reflects your wishes. Marriage, remarriage, divorce, or separation are appropriate times for a new will or an update to your existing will.
Dealing with the death of a loved one while also navigating estate disputes can be a very challenging time, both mentally and financially. Our goal is to help you avoid costly court conflicts that may take a long time and result in irreparable family conflicts.
If you are the Defendant defending a claim, our Kelowna lawyers will discuss the nature of the claims against the will so as to determine if the claims have any merit.
If you are the Plaintiff making a claim, we can analyze the will to see if it can be challenged. If you have a legitimate claim, we will help you make the settlement fair and reasonable and promote your rights as a beneficiary.
Whether we are working with Defendants or Plaintiffs, we consider all forms of dispute resolution and look for practical ways of resolving problems. In many cases this involves negotiations, including mediations and settlement conferences well in advance of trial. In other cases, we act as counsel at hearings, trials or appeals for clients throughout British Columbia.
Some examples of the types of disputes we handle are:
- Wills variation cases
- Disputes about capacity of a will maker to make a will
- Undue influence cases where it is believed the will does not reflect the deceased’s true desire regarding the disposition of their estate
- Disputes when the will fails to adequately provide for one or more children or spouse or make provision for the children of a prior marriage
- The will specifically disinherits a present spouse
- Disputes about joint bank accounts
- Disputes about land held in a joint tenancy
- Interpretation of wills
- Trust claims
- Unjust enrichment claims
- Contested passing of executor accounts before the courts