Have you ever wondered if you can challenge a will? It is possible for a beneficiary or person inquiring to challenge a will that may be invalid. In British Columbia there are a number of elements that are needed to ensure that the needs of the will are valid. One of our Associates, Scott Payne, who practices in Wills, Estates, and Trusts put together some insight on the grounds a will may be challenged.
First of all, the will-maker must have had testamentary capacity while signing off on the will. In other words, that means the will-maker must have understood what a will is, or what assets he or she had, and what the implications are of what they are signing. They also have to understand what sort of moral obligations they have to family members, understand who their relatives and descendants are, and be able to articulate who should inherit the belongings that are being signed over. If the will-maker did not have testamentary capacity then the will could be challenged on that basis.
Understanding the Paperwork:
It's also necessary that a will-maker actually had knowledge and understanding of the paperwork he or she signed. It's not as though they can sign off on whatever paper was thrust in front of them without reading the copy. There is a strong basis that this wouldn’t necessarily be upheld. They need to understand who they're providing their assets to once they pass away.
The final key element for valid wills are formalities. There is legislation in British Columbia that requires that a will-maker sign the will in writing in the presence of two witnesses. These witnesses must also sign that will. It's very important that those two witnesses not be interested in the parties taking part in the changing of the will. They should not be beneficiaries. Of course, the will could very well appear to be valid but if it was actually the result of undue pressure by a family member or perhaps even a family friend, then that will can be overturned as a result of undue influence or invalid pressure.
If you're the beneficiary of an estate and you have reason to believe that a will may be invalid, it's commonly recommended that you file something called a “Notice of Dispute” before the executor of that will obtains probate. Doing so will halt the process and give you more time to challenge the will.
You can see Scott Payne, CBM's Associate who practices in Wills, Estates, and Trusts speak more on the topic here.
Here at CBM, we have Will, Estate and Trust Lawyers that are here to ensure you have your say. Servicing Langley, Maple Ridge and Surrey. They are here to help you challenge a will. We can help guide you through your decision. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the process of a will please Contact Us Today.