In some situations the loss of a loved one can be followed by disputes over the estate of the deceased. Disputes can also arise among family members claiming entitlement to more from the estate than set out in the will. Understanding the sensitive nature of this type of law, we address the unique needs of your situation and develop creative strategies for successful resolution.
Estate Litigation handles disputes among family members, friends and others in relation to wills and estates. Disputes over wills or the management of estates and trusts have existed for as long as the law recognized a right to make a will or set up a trust. The most common cause of a delay in closing an estate is the inability of executors to agree. Many times there are also multiple beneficiaries with conflicting interests. Emotions can run high.
Why do you need an Estate Litigation Lawyer?
Disputes between family members are common when dealing with an estate. When a dispute arises that cannot be resolved between the parties involved, there may be a need to seek legal advice to resolve the issue. From our Halifax – Dartmouth offices, our lawyers serve clients across Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada. We are able to advise and represent you on issues that arise, including:
- If you are a spouse, common-law spouse or child and you believe the will is unfair and want to challenge it;
- If you are a spouse, common-law spouse or child and you believe that the will does not adequately provide for you;
- If the executor does not file for probate;
- If there is a delay in managing the estate;
- If you wish to remove the executor due to illegal activity or misrepresentation;
- If you have been unfairly excluded or disinherited from the will;
- If the will is ambiguous or unclear and there are issues interpreting it;
- If you are concerned that the will is invalid because it was not signed or witnessed properly;
- If you are concerned there were suspicious circumstances surrounding the creation of the will;
- If you believe the will was created when the person was mentally incapable or lacked the mental capacity.
Although we’ve listed examples of issues that may arise, each situation is unique. It is best to seek legal advice to answer your questions and determine your options.
Learn more about the estate litigation cases we handle
How We Can Help
Our Estate Litigation Team has significant experience in presenting wills for proof in solemn form. We also prepare wills and have experience testifying on issues of capacity or formalities. We have appeared in most of Nova Scotia’s Courts on behalf of executors and administrators. Our Estates Litigation Team also offers a mediation-like alternative to formal court proceedings; we will assume a neutral role to mediate resolutions between parties and resolve the most contentious disputes.
Sometimes an issue will arise during the course of an estate administration that requires the skill of a practitioner in other areas of law. Among the lawyers at BOYNECLARKE LLP are those who practice business law, tax law, intellectual property law as well as many other relevant fields. We are able to call on these resources when issues arise concerning the ownership of company shares, taxation of assets on death, and the law governing ownership of all the forms an estate asset may take.
Areas of Focus
Challenging a Will
Claims Against Estates
When an individual passes away the first step in the process of estate administration is the application for probate. The application asks the court to confirm the appointment of an executor, if there is a will, or an administrator, if there is no will. The court issues a grant of probate and that date of appointment becomes critical for claims against estates.
Generally, a claim must be filed within six months of the date of the grant. While it is sometimes possible to extend this deadline, those with a claim against an estate can be best served by contacting our Estate Litigation team within that time. Claims may be made by spouses or children who have been excluded from or not adequately provided for in a will. Claims against estates also include unpaid bills or loans and unpaid or unrewarded services by caregivers and others.
Defending a Will
A will is a legal document, and our team assists clients in defending its integrity and validity. If you believe that a will is being unfairly challenged you may have reason to defend it. With a proven track record we assist clients in building a strong defence.