The best* Vancouver estate litigation lawyers know it is devastating for you to lose a loved one or to see them suffer. Vancouver estate ligation lawyers also know that matters quickly become even worse when you:
- discover you have been disinherited ( received a nominal amount or worse you have been left out of the Will entirely); or
- discover malfeasance has occurred when someone has improperly influenced an infirm loved one to transfer monies, investments, lands, and other valuable property to this unscrupulous person leaving nothing for deserving family members; or
- discover lands or bank accounts in joints names go to the survivor of the joint account or real property when this was not intended by your deceased loved one; or
- discover your loved one is isolated from you and other family members and wonder why they are being taken advantage of or controlled and abused.
Best Vancouver Estate Litigation Lawyers tips 1 877 602 9900
The best Vancouver estate litigation lawyers* know that BC estate dispute cases will often involve your mother, father, or another loved one passing away but in cases of elder abuse, your loved one may be suffering ongoing mental and physical abuse. Vancouver estate litigation (meaning a court action is commenced) is often necessary to obtain justice in a case involving circumstances related to a person’s estate or assets inappropriately conveyed or transferred away before they die. Our experienced Vancouver estate litigation lawyers will negotiate, mediate and arbitrate Vancouver estate litigation cases before proceeding to a trial of the Vancouver estate dispute action. Our Vancouver probate dispute and Unfair Will estate disputes lawyers act across BC and in Calgary Alberta.
Vancouver Unfair Wills Variation Under Wesa 1 877 602 9900
In today’s blog, our top Vancouver estate litigation lawyers discuss three of the four common areas of Vancouver estate litigation beginning first with Unfair Wills variation claims. For more information on unfair Wills and Vancouver, probate dispute issues read our page on Unfair wills Variation. Joint bank account disputes and Joint tenancy real estate disputes deserve their own future blog.
Inheritance and estate dispute matters in Vancouver B.C. are currently governed by the Wills, Estates and Succession Act, (WESA) which allows a judge to vary or change a deceased person’s Will if it “does not, in the BC court’s opinion, make adequate provision for the proper maintenance and support of the will-maker’s spouse or children. Spouses and young children of the deceased Will maker occupy a preferred position in most cases compared to adult children of the deceased. The court can look at the financial position of the beneficiaries, any past gifts to those beneficiaries and the behaviour of both the Will maker and the beneficiaries in deciding whether to vary a Will on the grounds of unfairness.
Our Supreme Court of Canada in Tataryn v. Tataryn Estate,  2 S.C.R. 807, the BC Court noted that the intention and wishes of a person drawing a Will are deserving of respect BUT there are limitations on testamentary freedom to ensure the testator ( the person who prepared the Will) makes adequate and just provision for their heirs:
If the phrase “adequate, just and equitable” is viewed in light of current societal norms, much of the uncertainty disappears. Furthermore, two sorts of norms are available and both must be addressed. The first are the obligations which the law would impose on a person during his or her life were the question of provision for the claimant to arise. These might be described as legal obligations. The second type of norms are found in society’s reasonable expectations of what a judicious person would do in the circumstances, by reference to contemporary community standards. These might be called moral obligations, following the language traditionally used by courts. Together, these two norms provide a guide to what is “adequate, just and equitable” in the circumstances of the case.
Best* Vancouver Estate Litigation Lawyers – Undue Influence
As people age, they become targets for unscrupulous third parties and even family members. Baby boomers now hold billions of dollars of assets to be transferred in the next decade or so. As they age and become physically and mentally infirm the chances for malfeasance by people hired to help them or care for them rises dramatically. Making a valid Vancouver and BC Will requires the will-maker to have the mental capacity to understand what they are doing free from the undue influence of another person. Vancouver estate litigation lawyers explain that section 52 of WESA now applies a presumption of undue influence in cases where that person receives a benefit under a Will or a transfer of valuable property is imposed when the parties are in a relationship that has the potential for influence. Undue influence can exist in relationships involving a caregiver and care recipient. The WESA section 52 presumption of undue influence may be rebutted by evidence that independent, competent legal advice was given to the transferor, and the transferor understood the nature and consequences of the act. If the presumption of undue influence cannot be rebutted, the transaction will be set aside.
What Is Vancouver Estate litigation? Elder Abuse
Our Vancouver estate litigation lawyers have seen a sharp rise in mental and physical elder abuse over the last decade as the real estate and stocks markets for Vancouver and BC seniors have skyrocketed. Most disturbingly, financial abuse of wealthy seniors is becoming rampant, including:
- theft of money,
- secret transfers out of bank accounts,
- forged cheques,
- electronic transfers out of stock accounts,
- threats to withdraw caregiving, and
- inappropriate pressure to change Wills and/or to put a real property in joint names
Take action immediately when you notice isolation from family members by new predatory spouses and dishonest caregivers. Taking immediate action to protect the elderly family member is critical.
We hope this blog helps you answer the question: What Is Vancouver Estate litigation?
Contact Lorne MacLean, QC and Fraser MacLean if you need focused legal advice on your Vancouver probate or unfair Will dispute.