Not everyone can challenge your Will but it can be challenged. Under the Wills Variation Provisions of B.C's Wills, Estates and Succession Act, spouses and children can challenge your will if they have not been “adequately provided for”. The courts can determine what is “fair” in the circumstances.
Spouse includes a common-law spouse. This means a person who has co-habitated with the testator or will-maker for at least two years before the other person’s death in a marriage-like relationship including a marriage-like relationship between persons of the same gender.
“Adequate provision” depends on many things, such as the size of the estate, the reason for the disinheritance, the degree of dependency of the spouse or child on the deceased and the relative financial circumstances of the spouse or child to other claimants and beneficiaries under the Will.
Others who may challenge your will are those who have a potential interest in your estate, such as a beneficiary under an earlier will, on such grounds as the will-maker did not have capacity to make the new Will or that the will-maker was unduly influence by someone to make a Will in their favor.
It is best to see a lawyer experienced in estate planning when preparing your will and consider those who may challenge it.
Read in the Globe and Mail about a recent case in BC where a judge rewrote a woman's Will, giving the daughter millions more than the Will requested.
At Wilson Rasmussen LLP we offer free initial consultations regarding estate and inheritance issues. Please feel free to contact us at 604-583-7917.