Being cut out of a will, or cutting a child or spouse out of a will, is never easy or simple.

If you are one of the people left behind to deal with a will that disinherits a child or spouse, understanding the legal principles and laws that come together to deal with disinheritance can be a challenge. It can be difficult to know exactly what your rights are, as beneficiary or as executor of a will — especially right now in British Columbia, which has had a significant change in its estate laws.

The Wills, Estates and Succession Act (WESA) is relatively new and has changed the landscape of inheritance — and disinheritance — considerably.

At the office of Lunny Atmore LLP, we see many clients dealing with this topic, whether as disinherited spouses and children or as trustees/executors and other beneficiaries of the will who are faced with a challenge due to disinheritance.

We can help both sides of a dispute protect their interests through negotiation or, if necessary, in court.

Dealing With Disinheritance

Although BC's legal system gives a great deal of latitude to testators to decide the fate of their possessions, there are limits to that freedom, particularly when those decisions are deemed to be unfair to close relatives who might have reasonably expected to be provided for.

Our lawyers will help you understand the process, as we discuss:

  • Spouses: Under the WESA, a spouse has a right to expect adequate compensation. "Spouse" refers to both married spouses and common-law spouses, whether opposite-sex or same-sex. If the will-maker was married but had recently begun living common law with someone else, there may be two individuals with the right to be considered spouses.
  • Children: These include adoptees and illegitimate children, though not generally stepchildren. While minor children are owed adequate compensation, claims may be more difficult for adult children, especially if they are not disabled and were not dependent on the will-maker.
  • Insufficient compensation: Some of our clients don't face complete disinheritance, but insufficient compensation.
  • Services for executors: As an executor, you have a duty to the person who named you executor and to the beneficiaries named in the will. We can help you understand the law as it applies to your situation.

Tell us your story. Let us help you figure out where to go from here.

Contact Lunny Atmore LLP

Contact our Vancouver office to learn more about disinheritance. Call 604-259-1678 or fill out our online form.