"Did all your late parents' money end up in a joint bank account with your siblings?"
Often times beneficiaries of estates are shocked to find that assets of a will-maker have been transferred to others by way of gift prior to their passing.
Transfers of property between adults that have been made as gifts come with a rebuttable presumption that the property transferred is held on a resulting trust in favour of the person who made the gift or their estate.
This means that unless the person to whom the gift was made can establish that it was the intention of the will-maker to make a gift, the presumption tips the scales to establish no gift was intended.
Gifts made during a will-maker's lifetime also play a role in proceedings to vary a will. A will-maker's obligations to those who received a gift can be diminished and to those who did not receive such a gift intensified. Of course it sometimes happens that gifts made during a person's lifetime leave their estates unable to meet their obligations.
If you feel that a gift was unfair in a will context - you will need the help of an experienced litigation lawyer who knows what is required to prove intention. One who can also assess what dispute resolution mechanism can work best in a given situation.
BRUCE A. THOMPSON,
Wills litigation & mediation lawyer
Bruce is an experienced litigator who expanded his practice (since 2010) to wills and estates litigation.
His previous 40 years of civil litigation involved:
It is his litigation experience that provides a unique vantage point to see the benefits to be gained from mediation, as well as recognizing early on the level of intractability in problem situations and having an insight as to what to do - either by litigation or mediation.
Judges write endings. They choose what they believe is the proper ending for the situation which is before them. The client's role is to provide the facts the judge can find in making their decision.
There is more than one side to the facts presented and the judge chooses the facts upon which to base his or her decision.
In mediation each side has an opportunity to have direct input into the writing of the ending. There is discussion beyond proof of facts. Multiple possible endings are considered. The ending of the dispute, not the proof of facts, is the focus.
The earlier in the dispute process an acceptable ending can be reached, the greater the savings in time and cost.
Why mediation? It provides a focus on resolution of disputes. It provides an opportunity for each side to have direct input into writing an ending acceptable to them.
Bruce A. Thompson,
Bruce A. Thompson
If you have been treated unfairly by a deceased parent or spouse under the terms of his or her will, consider obtaining the advice and assistance of an experienced estate litigation lawyer. Wills can be varied by the court to ensure adequate, just and equitable provision for a spouse or child of the deceased.
Challenging Provisions of a Will & Estate Litigation Wills Disputes
VICTORIA BC, WILLS & ESTATES DISPUTES LAWYERS
MICHAEL R. MARK,
Preferred areas of practice in civil litigation include: estate litigation / wills disputes, personal injury, commercial disputes and Canada Revenue Agency tax evasion charges.
Michael Mark has extensive experience in both civil litigation and in criminal litigation as a former Federal prosecutor in complex tax evasion prosecutions.
Michael has practiced in Victoria since his admission to the Bar in 1991 and he became a principal at McConnan, Bion, O'Connor & Peterson Law Corporation in January 2000. He is also a past executive member of the Victoria Bar Association.
McConnan Bion O'Connor Peterson Law Corp.
B.C. Wills & Estates Disputes Litigation & Mediation Lawyers
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