How do You Disinherit Someone in BC?

Posted:  Jul 12, 2023

Have you recently created your will and contemplated changing its content or provisions? If so, fear not! As a resident of British Columbia, you have the legal right to modify your will as you see fit. In this blog post, we shall delve into inheritance law and explore how you can disinherit someone from your will.

So, without any delay, let’s get on with it!


Understanding the Concept of Disinheritance

Disinheritance, simply put, is the deliberate act of excluding an individual from a will. When an individual is barred from appearing in a will, the testator aims to prevent such an individual from benefiting from the distribution of assets, including money, real estate, personal belongings, or investments, when he or she passes on.

It should, however, be noted that the law guiding disinheritance varies across different countries. In British Columbia, for example, the inheritance law gives every will owner the right to alter their will as they see fit; this concept is called testamentary autonomy.

In British Columbia, the legal process involved in a testator intentionally excluding an entity from their last will can be accomplished through two primary methods: omitting the individual from the will altogether or incorporating a disinheritance clause within the testamentary document.

When a testator intentionally omits an individual from their will, such an individual will be barred from inheriting any part of the estate. An individual can also be banned from inheriting from deceased assets if the testator intentionally includes a disinheritance clause in the will. An inheritance clause explicitly states the testator’s intention to disinherit the designated person and outlines the reasons for doing so.

The importance of incorporating an inheritance clause in a will is that it will provide a clear and legally binding statement that explains why an individual is intentionally excluded from a will.


5 Reasons Why an Individual May be Disinherited

Several reasons can mandate the need to disinherit an entity; in this section, we will briefly discuss some of them.

  1. Estrangement or Broken Relationship: To some extent, this is one of the commonest reasons an entity could be disinherited. When there is a strained or unhealthy relationship between the testator and the individual in question, the testator may disinherit the person as a reflection of their damaged relationship and the desire to prevent them from benefiting from their estate.
  2. Financial Irresponsibility or Misconduct: The simple truth is that no one likes to see their properties mismanaged. And so, if an entity has a history of excessive debt, poor money management, or reckless spending, he or she could get exempted from a testator’s last will. Also, if an entity has previously engaged in any financial misconduct, such as fraud or embezzlement, a testator may decide not to include them in their will.
  3. Different Philosophies or Values: As humans, it is normal if we all have different philosophies and principles. However, if you are a testator and you don’t agree with someone’s philosophies, values, or lifestyle choices, you may disinherit such a person. Disinheritance based on differences in philosophy and value may be seen as a way to ensure that the estate is not used to support causes or activities that go against the testator’s deeply held principles.
  4. Criminal Behaviour or Substance Abuse: Another common reason why an entity may get disinherited is when he or she has a history of criminal activity or drug abuse.
  5. Making Lifetime Gifts: Instead of waiting until after your death, you can distribute your assets as lifetime gifts to your preferred beneficiaries. By gifting your assets while you are still alive, you can ensure that the individual you wish to disinherit does not receive any inheritance from you. Before proceeding with this method, it is important to be aware of any potential tax implications and consult with a financial advisor or tax professional.


Who May or May Not Get Disinherited?

The ability to disinherit someone can vary depending on the jurisdiction and local laws. In British Columbia, for example, the Wills, Estates, and Succession Act (WESA) governs the rules and regulations regarding disinheriting individuals. That act clearly states that anybody, irrespective of their relationship with the testator, can get disinherited. This means that a testator’s spouse, family members, or even adult children can get disinherited.

Another thing to note is that the British Columbia Wills Variation Act permits the court to rewrite wills to make provisions for the testator’s family members. Eligible will variance claimants including the testator’s spouse and children.


Can Disinherited Family Members Contest the Will?

A disinherited family member can contest the will, provided that they have a strong claim. For instance, they may argue that the testator was not in the right frame of mind or didn’t understand the nature and consequences of their actions when creating the will. Also, a disinherited family member may contest the will if someone notices that the testator was coerced or manipulated by someone into making certain provisions or excluding specific beneficiaries. In addition, If a disinherited family member can demonstrate that the will was improperly executed or that it is fraudulent or forged, they may contest it on those grounds.


Seek Legal Advice From Stevens and Company Law Corporation.

Disinheriting someone from an existing will is not as straightforward as one would think because of the legal implications. Thus, before disinheriting someone, hiring a skilled and knowledgeable attorney who can assist in the entire process is always advisable. Call us at 1-250-248-8220 to schedule a consultation.





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