There are many reasons, to be sure, but more and more Wills are being challenged across the country. Here in B.C., we have Wills Variation legislation, as do some other provinces. Others do not, but it does not prevent challenges on other grounds, such as lack of capacity and undue influence.
Two lawyers from the Toronto firm Hull & Hull LLP recently wrote on the Huffington Post that the frequency of Estate challenges is rising. They cite reasons such as the poor economy, beneficiaries’ increased reliance on inheritances, and the increasing complexity of modern blended families.
In addition, more individuals are preparing their own Wills, leading to a higher probability that those Wills are invalid. They also cite the aging population, leading to more Wills being made and more people dying and passing on their Estates to various beneficiaries.
Noting mental deterioration as another cause, the lawyers suggested that testamentary capacity concerns may surface more often in the future as a ground for challenging Wills, as medical studies and diagnoses become more sophisticated.
To all these factors you might add that, since property values have soared over the past 20 years, and Estates have grown in value, it is now more economically feasible to challenge an Estate. The “bottom line” is that, for many reasons, we will see more Wills being litigated in the coming years, which is significant.
This ad appeared in the Richmond News on September 13, 2013.