What are common disputes over a will and how do you avoid them?

If there is a dispute in relation to a will, generally that means somebody disagrees with what the will maker has decided. There are people who think they should have been provided for, but they don’t necessarily have a legal entitlement. BC law, and the law in general, recognizes that spouses and children of a will maker have an expectation to receive something out of the will maker’s estate, but not every will maker believes they have the same obligation to those individuals.  If somebody is coming forward with the dispute, it’s generally because they think they haven’t been adequately provided for in the will.

One reason lawyers help plan wills and estates is to avoid such disputes.  If a client comes to plan their will and estate, they generally want to make the future easier for themselves, their family, and their heirs. The lawyer’s job is to help them understand the challenges they might face if there isn’t proper planning in place. And then of course, the lawyer will plan around those challenges, and help the client understand any of the potential shortcomings in what they’re trying to do.

Lawyers will help their clients understand that there are potential disputes based on what they’re proposing to do, and either help them understand and accept those challenges, or more importantly, and preferably, help them avoid those issues altogether.