VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwired - July 22, 2016) - Vancouver litigation lawyers explain why Qualified Life Interest didn't hold up in will variation case
Moral obligations can be tricky when it comes to the law and estate planning. In a recent blog post, the litigation lawyers at Kushner Law Group took a look at why the court chose to vary a will when a spouse sued, claiming they deserved more than qualified life interest. For more, go to: http://kushnerlaw.ca/qualified-life-interest-estate-spouse-morality-bc-will-variation-law/
First it's important to understand Qualified Life Interest and what it means in a will. Estate planners can often get creative in planning solutions, depending on the instructions they receive from a will-maker, also known as a testator.
One option open to will-makers is to provide a life estate in a piece of property which allows the beneficiary to reside on the property for the duration of their life, but upon their death the life estate beneficiary loses their interest in the property.
In the case of Anderson v. Coles, 2016 BCSC 13, the Court summarized the provision for the plaintiff as follows:
 In general terms, the Will provides for Mrs. Anderson to enjoy the use and occupation of the 7th Avenue house for her life on certain conditions (including remaining unmarried and not living in a marriage-like relationship), and to receive the income of the residue of the estate for life on similar conditions. In the event that she advises in writing that she no longer wishes the house held for her, or she no longer resides at the house, the trustee is directed to sell the property and either add the proceeds to the residue producing income to Mrs. Anderson for life while unmarried, or purchase a more suitable property of equal or lesser value. The Will provides that upon Mrs. Anderson's death or remarriage or upon her entering a marriage-like relationship, the estate will be divided into five equal shares, one share for each living child and the share of a deceased child being divided equally between his or her living children.
In this case, the plaintiff spouse sued to vary the will and the Court agreed on the grounds of moral standards that the qualified life interest was not sufficient:
 In my view, it is contrary to contemporary moral standards that a long-term, caring and dedicated spouse with a notional legal claim to equal division of family assets should be limited to a Qualified Life Interest, with the entire estate going on her death to the testator's independent adult children. In all the circumstances, I am of the opinion that the Will does not make adequate provision for the plaintiff, and should be varied.
Exercising the discretion granted by the Act, the judge varied the will to provide the plaintiff with an undivided 50% interest in the property and, additionally, the sum of $90,000.
If you are a spouse or adult child of a deceased relative and believe that you have been unfairly treated by the terms of the will or left out completely, it's best to speak to a litigation lawyer with the experience to advise you on your rights and options.
About the Company
The Kushner Law Group was founded on the principle that a small law firm should be able to offer the same level of legal advice as a big firm at an affordable cost. A unique combination of legal experience and creativity allows the professionals at Kushner to come up with creative and practical solutions for a variety of legal problems.
For additional information, please visit http://kushnerlaw.ca/ or call 604-629-0432.