How To Challenge A Will in Ontario
In Ontario – there are only a few grounds that a will can get challenged successfully through the Courts. If a will is considered valid – a judge will not have the discretion to set aside the will based on the fact that dependants, beneficiaries or other individuals feel the will is not “fair”. Let’s take a look at common reasons why a will may get challenged in Ontario and what the legal procedures look like if a will gets challenged.
Common reasons why a will may get challenged in Ontario
It is not uncommon to see a will get challenged and the reasons why can vary. Under most scenarios – claims are usually brought forward by existing or formerly married spouses, dependants, left out business partners or contributors. Here are some common examples on why and when this happens.
- The will is considered invalid because it may have been prepared under duress, under lack of mental capacity or undue influence.
- It may also be considered invalid because it was not executed properly (i.e. no witnesses present, or the will is not signed).
- If the will was prepared fraudulently
- If there is evidence to demonstrate documents were falsified when the will was prepared
- The will is valid but was voided by a subsequent marriage
- The testator remarried later in life and the estate plan had sudden changes in the will removing the beneficiaries that were present before
- If beneficiaries feel the will is not valid based on unequal treatment (i.e if a dependant of the deceased feels like the amount of their benefit that was allocated was less than expected)
- If the will was improperly executed and doesn’t follow the formal requirements prescribed under the Succession Law Reform Act
- If the will was prepared a long time ago and considered out of date or if the deceased didn’t have a chance to update their will to reflect changes in their life
- And more
In situations like this we recommend you consult with a wills and estates lawyer or estate litigation lawyer who is familiar with Ontario laws to provide you with legal guidance to help navigate you through this process – and this is something our lawyers can help with.
Legal procedures involved in challenging a will
If an individual needs to challenge a will – court procedures will be required. This is one of the reasons we recommend you hire a wills and estates lawyer or estate litigation lawyer to assist with the process. A lawyer will prepare a Notice of Objection that gets filed with the court and bring forth a motion for the return of the certificate appointment or for direction of the court. This process is rather complex and may require a series of court applications. There are some instances where a notice of objection or a motion for the return of the certificate appointment is not required – for example whether the will has been or is required to be probated. If not done properly without the guidance of an estate litigation lawyer – it can turn into a long and drawn out battle which can result in excessive costs for all those involved in the motion.
Contact A Richmond Hill Wills & Estates Lawyer from Blackburn Lawyers Today
Whether you’re looking to challenge a will or prevent your will from being challenged – we recommend you consult with a wills and estates lawyer who is familiar with Ontario laws. Having a proper Will and estate plan is incredibly important – especially as your life changes where priorities and financial situations change. Contact Blackburn Lawyers today for a consultation if you require legal assistance. You can book a consultation by calling 905-884-9242 or filling out an online consultation request here.
Disclaimer: Please note this article is only intended to act as a general overview on a legal topic and does not constitute legal advice. For individual legal advice specific to your situation – please speak directly with a lawyer for legal advice as every situation is different.