Despite the grief that follows a passing of a loved one, there are many instances when a person may need to contest a Will and retain an Estate Litigation Lawyer.
The most common reasons for challenging a Will are found below. An Estate litigation lawyer at Z Legal can assist in any of the mentioned areas:
Unequal treatment of beneficiaries: If a beneficiary is expecting to receive something from the deceased party (the testator) but receives less, he or she may challenge the validity of the Will.
Out-of-date estate plan: Where a Will was prepared before the birth of a new child or grandchild, and the Will leaves certain gifts to children and grandchildren born beforehand, but does not mention the new children or grandchildren, the Will can be challenged.
Improper execution of a Will: If a Will is not properly signed or witnessed, it may be challenged. Some of the formal requirements that must be followed for a Will to be valid are found in the Succession Law Reform Act. There are many situations where a Will may be challenged where the formal rules surrounding the execution of the Will were not followed.
Lack of testamentary capacity of the testator: The person leaving a Will must have sufficient mental capacity at the time the Will is written. If capacity is lacking, beneficiaries may challenge the Will. This may happen if the testator had a mental illness, for example, at or around the time the Will was written. An Estate litigation lawyer can help you gather the documents and evidence you’ll need to make out your claim.
Undue influence on the testator: The testator making a Will must be free from undue influence when making a will to ensure that his or her wishes are truly reflected in the will. Any improper pressure on the testator could potentially invalidate the Will.
Unclear Will: At times, there is language used in Wills which can be interpreted in multiple ways. This is often the result of improper drafting, Wills written without a lawyer, and a lack of knowledge about the law at the time the Will is written. An experienced Estate litigation lawyer can assist.
Improper designation of a beneficiary: A possible problem may arise if the designation or the beneficiary is inconsistent with a pre-existing RRSP, insurance policy, or agreement between the testator and another party.
Insufficient funds provided for a dependent: A deceased’s dependents must always be looked after, regardless of the wishes of the deceased. Dependents include minor children, children studying post-secondary education, disabled children (whether minor or adult), dependent spouses or common law spouses, and others who may have been financially dependent on the deceased. Speak with an Estate litigation lawyer at Z Legal to determine if you may be entitled to more than what a Last Will states.