Wills Variation

The Supreme Court of British Columbia may vary a Will so as to provide “adequate, just and equitable provision” for a spouse or child. A balance is struck between a Will-maker’s freedom to dispose of property as he or she wishes, while ensuring that the person who made the Will does not arbitrarily cut off the legitimate claims of spouses or children.

A spouse in this context is a married partner or an unmarried partner who has been living with the Will-maker in a marriage-like relationship for at least 2 years preceding the Will-maker’s death.

Courts, when determining whether to make an order under the Wills, Estates and Succession Act, will look at:

  • •Cases where the Will-maker owes a legal duty of support, such as to a spouse or dependent child;
  • •Cases where the Will-maker owes a moral duty, such as to the adult children of the Will-maker’s first spouse; and
  • •The wishes of the Will-maker.


*In British Columbia, a claimant must make a Wills variation claim within 180 days of the probate of the deceased’s Will or the grant of administration of the intestate estate. As a result, if you believe you may have a Wills variation claim, you should see a lawyer as soon as possible.