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Notice Of Dispute: Preparing To Challenge A Will

Notice of Dispute: Preparing to Challenge a Will

For people who believe they’ve been wronged by an invalid will and are wishing to challenge the will before the courts, they can issue a notice of dispute to the courts to stop the estate administration from proceeding. For the majority of will challenges, the notice of dispute must be issued before the will has been granted probate. When issued, the probate courts are unable to grant probate for the will and must wait until the notice has been dealt with. In essence, the notice of dispute will put the estate administration on hold until it is removed.

Who Can Issue a Notice of Dispute?

Rule 25-10 in the Supreme Court Civil Rules specifies the laws surrounding notices of dispute in BC. Essentially, anyone who has an interest in the estate is able to file a notice of dispute. More specifically, the people who can issue one are:

  • Any executors or alternate executors of the will,
  • Any beneficiaries of the will, and
  • Anyone who would have been an intestate successor, assuming a will was not written and the estate was larger than what the spouse would inherit solely.

The portion of the intestate succession a spouse is entitled to is based on the family members that the will-writer predeceased. Depending on the family structure of the will-writer, intestate successors for each estate can vary. For more information, read our blog on how assets are distributed in intestacy.

As an interested party, you will be entitled to a notice of probate where the estate executor must notify you that the will is planning to be probated soon and provide a copy of the will at least 21 days before probate is granted. If you’re someone who is entitled to a notice of probate, you’re also someone who is able to issue a notice of dispute. Further, there can only be one active notice per will.

Valid Reason for Issuing a Notice

A notice of dispute can be renewed after a year by the disputant if they have good reason for renewal.

The courts will only allow a notice of dispute to withhold the probate process when the disputant (claimant) has a legally valid reason for issuing it. An example could be a beneficiary who has proof that the will was incorrectly witnessed and is therefore invalid. By issuing a notice of dispute, this beneficiary could then file to have the will proven in solemn form by the executor to continue the dispute process. On the other hand, if a person issues a notice because they’re unhappy with the terms of the will, even though the will is valid, the notice will likely be quickly dismissed. In general, the notice of dispute is meant to speed up the probate process and minimize delays while allowing interested parties a fair opportunity to raise any concerns. People who have valid reason for issuing a notice must act fast so that the will administration process can keep progressing.

Removing a Notice

A notice of dispute can be removed either by the disputant formally withdrawing it, the courts dismissing it, or when the document simply expires. The only time the courts will remove a notice is when they believe that it’s not in the best interests of the estate to uphold the notice. As an estate executor, you likely want to remove a notice of dispute quickly to begin administering the estate. To do this, you will file an application to have the noticed removed. The courts will accept the application if it’s believed that the notice is against the best interests of the estate.

A disputant has a year to take action and have the issue resolved. After a year, the notice of dispute will expire if it has not been renewed. From there, the executor can file for probate and begin estate administering.

If you wish to issue a notice of dispute and challenge a will, contact an experienced estate lawyer today. We will make you and your case a top priority, ensuring you receive the inheritance you’re entitled to, no matter what it takes.

Have a question about this topic or a different legal topic? Contact us for a free consultation. Reach us via phone at 250-888-0002, or via email at

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