Calgary Estate Litigation

Calgary Estate Litigation – Experienced Lawyer.

If you’re involved in estate litigation, this Calgary Wills and Estates Lawyer can help you.

“Estate litigation” can arise in any number of ways.  Good, careful estate planning is the best protection against future estate litigation; but even then, problems can arise.

Litigation is the process of taking legal action.  This is where one person or another has commenced legal proceedings against [usually] another person.  Typically, in Calgary, estate litigation takes place in either the Surrogate Court or the Court of Queen’s Bench.

Litigation usually involves one, two or all of the parties retaining lawyers to represent their interests.  In the case of estate litigation the winners legal fees are often paid out of (or reimbursed from) the estate.  In some instances a Judge may also allow the non winner to have some or all of their legal fees paid out of the estate as well, although this is not the normal course of events.

Typical litigation proceeds with one of the parties filing a Statement of Claim, Originating Notice or other originating document and serving it upon the other parties.  Each person then files a defence.  There are often counter claims made.  Eventually, examinations for discovery are held and the matter might proceed to a trial before a Judge or Justice sometime after that.

Calgary Estate Litigation – What Are The Causes?

Here are just a few of the scenarios that can lead to estate litigation.

  • When the will is missing or there was some trouble in locating it.
  • When there is more than one will.
  • When people “say” there was more than one will.
  • When what the deceased person “said” is different than what the will says. Or when people disagree over what the person said.
  • When people failed to follow the rules and obtained a grant of probate.
  • When people think wills law doesn’t apply to their situation.
  • When there is jealousy or resentment among family members.
  • When there are people who have been disinherited or cut out of the will.
  • When the will has been changed to disproportionately benefit one family member at the expense of others.
  • When the will has been written on after it was made by the person who made it.
  • When the will has been written on after it was made by someone other than the person who made it.
  • When someone is alleging fraud or collusion by one or more members of the family, or outsiders.
  • When long lost relatives suddenly appear.
  • When there is uncertainty as to lineage.
  • When there are step-children involved.
  • When there are adopted children involved.
  • Mixed marriage situations.
  • When there has been remarriage since the making of a will.
  • Where the law about remarriage has changed since . . . the remarriage.
  • When there was influence or pressure placed upon a person around the time that they made their will, or in the weeks, months or years leading up to it.
  • Where a will was made while a person was in the hospital.
  • When there is blackmail taking place.
  • When there are concerns about the failing mental health of the person who made the will i.e. did they really know what they were doing? Were they really of “sound mind”?
  • When there is dementia or Alzheimer’s.
  • Home made wills can often lead to challenges. One of the benefits of having a lawyer make and witness the will is that the lawyer can be a somewhat independent and witness as to the mental health of the testator.
  • Concerns about the validity of the will due to the failing mental health of the person who made the will. Were they really of :sound mind”? Were they pressured or manipulated into doing certain things?
  • When one person has been looking after the financial affairs of the deceased to the exclusion of all others.
  • Where the executor does a poor job of administering the estate.
  • Where people think the executor is doing a poor job of administering the estate.
  • Where an executor neglects or refuses to be properly accountable.

Estate litigation can be stressful.  By talking to an experienced estate lawyer right away you can decide whether you have a good case to litigate, or not.  If you feel you have been wrongfully left out of a will or have any concerns at all, call Bill Ranson Q.C. for an experienced, confidential opinion.  Call today.

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