Know your rights: What to know about the inheritance process

By Taylor McCaffrey LLP on 2017/03/10

According to a report by CIBC last year, Canadians between the ages of 50-75 are set to inherit $750 billion over the next decade. As a beneficiary, the law is there to protect your rights during a tough time. It’s common for people to ask “what do I need to know about receiving an inheritance in Manitoba?”

Solange Buissé

Solange Buissé

According to Solange Buissé, a lawyer at Winnipeg’s Taylor McCaffrey, it’s important to keep in mind that a beneficiary might not get what they’re entitled to if the executor is not doing their job. The best way to ensure that doesn’t happen is to ask for information. “As a beneficiary in Manitoba it’s your right to receive a copy of the Will and the assets in the estate,” says Buissé. “A beneficiary cannot impose a schedule on the executor but information should be received within a reasonable time frame.”

Sometimes this process doesn’t go as smoothly as it should. Buissé gives an example of a case where the executor refused to provide any information at all to the beneficiaries. If you find yourself in this situation, contact a lawyer to act on your behalf. As a last resort the case would go to probate, and the Will and a copy of the estate’s inventory would be made available to the beneficiaries. A lawyer can guide you through this process and act as your advocate.

A lawyer is also there to protect you if you feel an executor is taking advantage of the estate. For instance, if “Mom had a house, moved into a care home and the house is sold you would expect to see those funds in the estate,” commented Buissé. If you feel those funds are missing and don’t receive a proper accounting from the executor, a lawyer can ask the court to remove the executor. This is not without risk; if the court finds that there isn’t sufficient reason for dismissal, the legal costs could come from either the estate or the beneficiary. A lawyer is the best person to provide advice to help avoid unwanted costs.

Ultimately, your best protection is to know your rights beforehand and talk to the executor at the outset to reduce the incidents of conflict. But if things go awry know that a lawyer is there to ensure that executors remain accountable.

To know your full rights as a beneficiary read on for further information here or contact Solange Buissé at 204-988-0370.

DISCLAIMER: This article is presented for informational purposes only.  The views expressed are solely the author(s)’ and should not be attributed to any other party, including Taylor McCaffrey LLP.  While care is taken to ensure accuracy, before relying upon the information in this article you should seek and be guided by legal advice based on your specific circumstances.  The information in this article does not constitute legal advice or solicitation and does not create a solicitor-client relationship.  Any unsolicited information sent to the author(s) cannot be considered to be solicitor-client privileged.

If you would like legal advice, kindly contact the author(s) directly or the firm's Managing Partner Norm Snyder at nksnyder@tmlawyers.com, or 204.988.0302.