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Carrying Out Final Wishes

When a will is vague, estate administration may be complicated

The responsibility of being executor of an estate, or the British Columbia court-appointed administer, is a heavy burden. Fortunately, a well written will leaves little room for doubt as to what needs to be done with the deceased's assets. Vague wording, however, can lead to misinterpretation and may complicate the task of estate administration.

When specific instructions are not left in a will, or if the instructions that are there are not precise, they can be difficult to carry out. In certain circumstances, an unclear will can even be contested by the heirs or beneficiaries of the estate. In a recent example, confusion over the wording in a will is holding up what may be a sizable donation to charity.

According to one interpretation, the charity known as ShareLife is to be given a gift in excess of a million dollars. However, the wording is vague enough that the charity may end up with nothing at all. They have taken the issue to court to have it resolved. 

Time spent in court costs money, of course. Additionally, any bequeathments that cannot be distributed become an additional problem with which the executor will have to deal. Estate administration is, at the best of times, an arduous task as well as an emotional one. For any person charged with this undertaking, it may be helpful to know that professional assistance is available. A lawyer who has experience with wills and estate law in British Columbia can help with all aspects of the process and try to ensure a loved one's last wishes come to fruition.

Source: The Catholic Register, "The right words are critical in making a Will", Jean Ko Din, Nov. 5, 2016

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