You are here

Contesting a Will in British Columbia (Recorded Webinar)

Recorded on: 
October 27, 2020
60 minutes

Summary: Lawyers Amy Mortimore and Zachary Rogers answer common questions about contesting a will in BC — who can do it, how it’s done, and other options beyond “going to court.” 


In this webinar, you will learn:

  • Three ways a will can be challenged in British Columbia, namely undue influence, lack of capacity, and wills variation. [3:50]
  • What factors a court in British Columbia will take into account when asked by a “spouse” or “child” of a will-maker to vary a will. [7:30]
  • What suspicious circumstances or red flags may signal undue influence, including changes to a will made shortly before death, large gifts to a non-family member, and vulnerability of the will-maker (such as impaired mobility or capacity resulting in dependence on another person). [9:35]
  • How a set of facts may give rise to more than one basis to challenge a will. [13:00]
  • What red flags to look for in a claim for lack of capacity. [15:20]
  • An example of a situation where there could be both a claim that the will-maker lacked capacity and a claim to vary the will. [16:40]
  • How filing a notice of dispute puts a halt to the estate administration process and allows time to investigate a challenge to the will. [17:30]
  • What factors to investigate when you have concerns about a will-maker’s capacity. [18:35]
  • What factors a court in British Columbia will consider when deciding whether to vary a will in favour of a spouse or child. [19:50]
  • Who is considered a spouse and who is considered a child having the right to ask a court in British Columbia to vary a will (you may be surprised!). [26:00]
  • Who else can challenge a will and on what bases they can challenge. [27:50]
  • Your options besides going to trial and why you might consider mediation instead. [29:25]
  • What you can do now to prevent a fight after you’re gone. [37:20]
  • What happens if property that would be part of the estate is sold under a power of attorney before the will-maker dies. [42:00]
  • What your rights are as a common-law spouse in relation to a home owned by the will-maker and household items you purchased together. [45:10]
  • Whether a court will set aside an entire will if there is undue influence. [47:40]
  • What happens to an estate when an entire will is set aside. [49:10]
  • What children from a first marriage might do where property owned in joint tenancy passes to the will-maker’s spouse. [50:50]
  • Whether property that passes outside of a will (e.g., via joint tenancy) will be considered in a claim to vary a will. [52:15]
  • Whether it’s recommended for a will-maker seeking to disinherit a spouse or child or treat them unequally to explain why in the will. [54:30]

Attendee feedback

"Exceptional info as my husband and I are preparing to prepare our wills. The moderator is a key part of the value of the webinar."

“Thank you for bringing this important info to our communities — your time (free!) is wonderful and really appreciated!”

“Thank you for having this webinar. It was very informative, especially the Q&A. Rock on!”  

"Really good webinars. This is my second, and I'm very impressed with how succinct and smoothly run they are."

“Thank you. I have attended two of these webinars now and have found them very helpful, either in extending my knowledge or solidifying info I already have. Looking forward to the next one.”

“These webinars are great and much appreciated.”

Additional resources 

Resources from Clark Wilson LLP:

Resources from People’s Law School: