DEFINITION of 'Will Variation'

A provision that allows a surviving spouse and/or children to contest a will that does not make adequate provision for their maintenance and support. In Canadian estate law, a legally married spouse, separated spouse, a common law spouse (in certain instances and where the two people are cohabiting in a marriage-like relationship) and the children of a decedent have the right to contest a will if they feel they have not been provided for in the manner in which they had reasonably expected. If the challenge is upheld by a court, the will may be rewritten to provide adequate support for the involved parties.

BREAKING DOWN 'Will Variation'

The British Columbia Wills Variation Act allows a disinherited spouse or child to seek a revision of a will by challenging the will and seeking a redistribution of the assets of the estate. In the event that a spouse or child contests a will due to lack of support, a court must decide if the challenge is valid and if a revision to the will is appropriate. The court can direct a redistribution of the estate that is "adequate, just and equitable in the circumstances."

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