How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Debra Your Own Question
Debra, Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
Satisfied Customers: 100479
Experience:  Lawyer
Type Your Canada Law Question Here...
Debra is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

BRITISH COLUMBIA Estate Law is what we need. My InLaws have

This answer was rated:

BRITISH COLUMBIA Estate Law is what we need.
My InLaws have passed away [father in law over 4 years ago, mother in law a couple of months ago] and had a sizeable estate, I'm guessing at least a million. There are 3 adult grandchildren, all between 35-40 years. All 3 grandchildren live in Alberta. They were in their late 80's when they passed. I know they wanted their family to inherit their estate. Both their sons pre-deceased them, 3 grandchildren are the only family.

An old friend of theirs apparently had Mrs. sign a Will 2-1/2 years ago (within the family we know she has been senile for 6 or more years) and they made themselves the executor and the sole holder of ALL ASSETS. The Will apparently gives them the freedom to buy real estate or do whatever they want with the funds. Under that Will, each grandchild gets $10,000. each on Jan. 1 of each year.

It is impossible for the grandchildren to even live long enough to use up the estate that way. Besides that, this couple is 65-70 years old and seem to be setting up the situation so that THEIR 2 daughters get the bulk of the estate.

Can anything be done? My in-laws lived for decades in the same area of British Columbia so it will be under BC law. Please help.
Thank you for your question.

Before I begin I want to explain a bit about how the site works.

It may be that I will find that I need to gather further information from you. As well, it's quite possible that you may feel the need to ask me additional questions for further clarification.Please do not worry that you will be charged additionally if I ask you questions or if you need to ask me questions. That is not at all how the site works.

As well, please understand that as a careful lawyer I will always give you an honest answer even if the answer is sometimes not what you were hoping for.

Finally, as we go through the process please do not feel rushed if I ask you a question. You are always free to take your time to gather more information before you post back. As well, please understand that even after you rate me the post will not lock and you could always come back for further clarification if you think of something a bit later on down the road.

Has this executor applied to probate the will?

If so did the grandchildren get a notice about making a claim to the estate under the Wills Variation Act? Did they get copies of the will?

Was that Will drafted by a lawyer?

Is there medical evidence to support the fact that the grandmother was mentally incompetent and therefore could not have testamentary capacity two and half years ago?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you so much. No, I doubt anybody has bothered to make sure she was declared mentally incompetent. If it's necessary I expect the adult grandchildren will have to try and find out from her doctor but if they don't have executor rights to her estate, I'm guessing they wouldn't be able to get it.

Plus they all live in Alberta and wouldn't know how to begin or who to begin with since the executor is clearly trying to secure the estate for themselves.


I'll send my son an email and ask about the probate and such but I doubt he has a clue.


Thank you again :)

Essentially, the law in BC is different than in most of the other provinces.

When a Will is probated all of the next of kin who would inherit if there was no Will must be provided with a copy of the Will and notice that advises them that they have a right to make a claim under the Wills Variation Act.

The Wills Variation Act is an Act that allows the court the right to change the terms of the Will if the Will is not fair to the heirs.

So, at the very least these adult grandchildren have a right to make a claim to the estate.

As well, this is a very troubling set of facts. Firstly, it sounds like the grandmother may not have been mentally competent when she changed her Will. Second, even if she was mentally competent these facts reek of undue influence.

So, I think that there is little doubt that the adult grandchildren should be retaining and estate lawyer in BC right away.

They can contact the BC Branch of the Canadian Bar Association and use their Lawyer Referral Service. They will be given the name of a lawyer and can consult with the lawyer and the first half hour will be $25.

The number is:

604.687.3221 or 1.800.663.1919.

Let me know if you need any further clarification.
Debra and other Canada Law Specialists are ready to help you
Thanks very much for the rating.

Please take the time to participate in the customer satisfaction survey as that will go into my record with the site.You will be sent an email with the survey in a couple of days.

And feel free to keep my name in case you need me again down the road. You can always put my name into the subject line the next time you post so that your question will stand out for me and I will answer it just as soon as I can.

Thanks and take good care!

Related Canada Law Questions