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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Disinherited son gets 1 cent, court won't change the will

As readers who live in BC may already know, the law in BC is a little different from the rest of Canada when it comes to contesting a will. The bottom line is that BC's law allows a child who is disinherited or treated unequally to challenge a parent's will on moral grounds.

Recently a court in BC upheld a will in which a mother left her estate to her three daughters and left her son only 1 cent. The son challenged the will but the court did not decide in his favour. What made this case so different? Why did the court not allow this claim when it allowed many others?

The key was a 6-page letter from the mother outlining her reasons for disinheriting the son. And she was thorough, going back to the son's teenage years and describing all of the things he had done that had caused her legal and financial trouble, right up to him trying to declare her incompetent. The court decided not to interfere with the mother's intention to disinherit her son when she had such clearly communicated reasons for doing so.

I find this case interesting because I believe in a person's right to disinherit a grown, independent child if he or she wants to. This case gives some solid guidance on how to achieve that in BC.

If you'd like to read more about this case, Holvenstot v. Holvenstot, click here to read a very good article from

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