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Estate Litigation, Radio/Media

How Do You Challenge A Will And How Long Do You Have?

July 29, 2021 by Kevin Cheung

Our Estate Litigation team of lawyers appreciates that this can be very difficult for those individuals involved. We understand the sensitivity of these issues and have the expertise to mitigate and resolve conflicts through Mediation, Litigation or Arbitration. These are often complex, emotional situations, and we pride ourselves on balancing our clients’ legal and personal goals in seeking resolution.

A very common question Associate Kevin Cheung often receives from a client is, "How can I challenge a Will, and how long do I have?" He discusses and answers with a few classic examples.


One of the questions I get asked often is, “Can I challenge a Will, and if so, how long do I have to challenge a Will?”

The BC Courts do vary Wills on behalf of spouses and children who have been disinherited. The legislation that governs this is the Wills, Estate & Succession Act. It provides that if a will-maker dies and leaves a Will that does not make adequate provisions for the proper maintenance and support of the will maker’s spouse or children, then the courts may change the will to make provisions for the spouse or the children that they think is adequate and fair. Now under BC laws, a spouse is one of two people who are either married or have lived together in a marriage-like relationship for at least two years; this includes same-sex couples. People stop being spouses when they separate, meaning that a separated spouse will not be entitled to challenge their former partner’s Will.

For the purposes of challenging a Will, a child is a natural-born child or adopted child, and this includes a stepchild that has been adopted; however, a stepchild that has not been adopted would not be entitled to challenge the Will. The child can be financially independent as long as they are naturally born or adopted, then they would be entitled to challenge the Will. Generally speaking, a person has 180 days from the grant of probate to file the necessary documents to challenge a Will. The grant of probate is a certificate that is issued by the court that essentially verifies that the Will is valid and it's been proven. It gives the executor the legal authority to fulfill the terms of the Will. At FH&P Lawyers, we have many lawyers here who can assist you in your estate planning or planning for incapacity. We certainly have lawyers who can take on the litigation needs related to these areas if you need assistance.