Leaving Your Children Out of Your Will?

So we’ve talked about what happens if you die without a will—how your estate and assets will be distributed, who would administer your estate, and so on. But what happens if you do make a will, but it does not provide adequately for your children?

According to section 60 of the Wills, Estates and Succession Act (WESA), “despite any law or enactment to the contrary, if a will-maker dies leaving a will that does not, in the court’s opinion, make adequate provision for the proper maintenance and support of the will-maker’s spouse or children, the court may, in a proceeding by or on behalf of the spouse or children, order that the provision that it thinks adequate, just and equitable in the circumstances be made out of the will-maker’s estate for the spouse or children.”

In other words, if you do not provide an adequate part of your estate to your children in your will, they can apply to change the will, and the court could step in and order that an appropriate amount be entrusted to them from your estate.

You may be wondering, what would an appropriate amount be? How does the court define “adequate provision” and how does it determine what is “just and equitable”?

There are in fact no set rules for this, but generally the court will look at societal norms to help them decide whether your will makes adequate provision for your children. These norms may vary depending upon the personal dynamics between you and your spouse/children, what ethnic group you form a part of, among other factors that are very specific to your situation and in light of contemporary community standards.

If you or a loved one are in need of advice regarding Wills and Estates or wish to have assistance in making a Will or challenge a Will, consult Vancouver and Burnaby Wills & Estates lawyer Andrew Rebane at Resolutions Law Corporation, Burnaby, British Columbia at andrew@resolutionslawcorp.com or 778-372-7107.