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Carrying Out Final Wishes

A challenged will can upset the estate administration process

Generally, the task of an executor begins following an unfortunate loss. This may be a very difficult time for that person, and his or her only wish is likely to see the job of estate administration through as efficiently as possible. However, should a will be challenged, this can delay the process and make the task even more labourious. A trio of disgruntled heirs has filed suit against a large British Columbia estate and the battle has the potential to be extensive.

A prominent developer passed away in Jan. 2016, leaving behind an estate with an estimated value of $57 million.  In his will, the decedent bequeathed the entirety of his assets to his third wife. The will also appointed her executrix of the estate, which is comprised primarily of a large residential property and shares in an investment company.

On Feb. 7, the decedent's three children from his first marriage, all adults, filed a notice of civil claim with the Supreme Court. None of the children was named in the will, and the group is seeking damages, and a variance. In the suit, they allege abuse at the hands of their father, and a fraudulent gifting of the estate to his third wife. They claim the will failed to provide for them without justification. 

It is sometimes unfortunate that the executor has no say in the content of a will. Instead, he or she can only do the best they can with what they are given. Facing a challenge of the will is a possibility during estate administration, though it is not a common occurrence. It may be helpful to enlist the services of a highly capable British Columbia estate lawyer should such an event come to pass.

Source: CBC News - British Columbia, "Battle of will: Local family fights over $57M estate", Karin Larsen, Feb. 24, 2017

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