How Long Do You Have to Contest a Will?

29 May 2020 Legal Services

Knowing how long you have to contest a will can help prevent you from missing important deadlines. At Linley Welwood, they want to make the wills variation process for a spouse or child of the will-maker as simple and stress free as possible. That is why their team of wills, estates, and trusts lawyers will work tirelessly to get you the outcome you deserve.

Filing a Notice of Dispute

After a will-maker passes away, one of the first steps taken is an Application for a Grant of Probate. In most cases, these applications proceed without objections; however, under BC’s Wills, Estates and Succession Act (WESA), an interested party can dispute the issuance of an estate grant by filing a Notice of Dispute (NOD) with the court. Doing so will prevent the court from issuing a grant until the NOD is withdrawn, cancelled, or superseded by a court order. The NOD will expire after 12 months if no action is taken.

A Notice of Dispute can only be filed by someone who is entitled to receive a copy of the Application for a Grant of Probate, such as an executor of the will, beneficiaries named in the will, or anyone who is entitled to share the estate including spouses and children. A NOD can only be filed if there is a valid reason (conflict of interest on the part of the executor, questionable metal capacity of the will-maker, the will was written with undue influence or coercion, etc.).

Contesting a Will

If a will-maker dies leaving a will that does not adequately provide for the proper maintenance and support of the will-maker’s spouse or children, the court may decide to vary the will to provide adequate, just, and equitable support from the will-maker’s estate for the spouse or children, depending on the circumstances.

In most cases, lawsuits for contesting a will have a two-year deadline. While each province in Canada has its own laws concerning wills, BC’s WESA defines specific deadlines for challenging a will under section 60 of the Act. Under WESA, a will variation claim must be started within 180 days from the date the representation grant is issued and a copy of the initiating pleading must be served on the executor of the will no later than 30 days after the 180 day period expires, unless the court extends the time of service, either before or after the expiration of 30 days.

If you would like to learn more about how long you have to contest a will, or if you are interested in their legal services for wills variation claims, please contact Linley Welwood at 604-850-6640 or by filling out a contact form on their website.