Will variations: what you need to know

On behalf of Peterson Stark Scott posted in on February 9, 2020.

A will variation is when someone requests a change to a will after the passing of a loved one. Whether a spouse, adult child or grandchild is requesting the change, it‚ essential to understand the nature of the requested change.

A will variation is not intended to alter the wishes or intentions of the deceased. This means that if property was evenly divided among surviving siblings, but one sibling didn’t like the property he or she was left with, this would most likely not qualify for a will variation.

A will variation is to make sure a will does not unfairly leave a surviving family member at a disadvantage. A recent CBC article highlights a situation where a judge ruled to change how parents left their estate to their six surviving children. The family had two sons and four daughters but chose to leave the majority of the estate to their sons, valued at around $9M. The family allegedly valued sons over daughters, and the judge ruled that the will did in fact leave the daughters disadvantaged.

It‚ important to note that unhappiness with the provisions of a will is not enough for a will to be changed. And an intentionally excluded family member is also not always a valid reason to challenge a will. What needs to be proven is why a valid will is unfair. A proven disadvantage needs to be explained and supported in order vary a will. In the case of the $9M estate, it was proven that the daughters had worked on the family business as regularly as the sons. The daughters also maintained a close relationship with the parents, which is why the will was not seen as fair.

If you are faced with a situation where discrimination during the execution of a will exists, it‚ essential that you consult with an experienced legal professional. He or she can evaluate your situation and explain what your legal options might be to pursue a will variance.

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