I created this blog to inform readers of current developments in estate litigation. As a lawyer practicing in the area of estate and trust litigation in Vancouver, I see certain recurring themes and trends. In this blog, I identify and discuss these issues.
Estate litigation is an unfortunate but common occurrence, and I expect that the volume of estate litigation before our courts is only going to increase for a number of reasons:
- An aging population that holds most of the wealth. There will be a massive wealth transfer between generations in the next few years;
- High property values encourage potential claimants to bring claims. If someone dies with $0 in their bank account, no investments or RRSPs, but a piece of real property that they purchased decades ago, this still may result in a $1million+ estate – something worth fighting over.
- An increase in blended families: Second (or Third… or Fourth) spouses in disputes with children of the deceased’s first marriage.
- Estate litigation is very personal. There is a high level of emotion. A family member has died. Years of emotions/memories/feuds/resentment may be dredged up. People become entrenched in their positions and may pursue or oppose claims unreasonably.
- The Wills Estates and Succession Act [SBC 2009] Chapter 13 came into effect on March 31, 2014. The act resulted in significant changes to the law and introduced some uncertainty as to how estate litigation disputes will be resolved.
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