Anybody with a financial interest in an estate can file an application to challenge a will. Contesting a will can be a long, drawn-out, and difficult process requiring skillful guidance from an experienced estate litigation lawyer. If you believe that you should have been named as a beneficiary in the will of a loved one and have not been, or if you would otherwise like to challenge the terms of a will, your first course of action should be to obtain legal advice.
At NULaw in Toronto, we can help you determine whether you have grounds to bring a will challenge. We also regularly represent executors who face will challenges. We will take the time to help you understand your legal rights and will identify any risks and costs that can be anticipated.
There are generally three ways in which to challenge a will:
The person challenging the will must prove one or more of these three factors to successfully contest the will.
A will challenge on the grounds of formality requires the challenger to establish problems with the actual will itself. Commonly cited issues include a lack of a witness, an improper witness, absence of a valid signature, as well as absence of an original copy of the will.
The testamentary or mental capacity of a testator (the person making the will) is a critical element of a valid will. A will challenge on the grounds of incapacity requires a challenger to establish that the testator lacked sufficient testamentary capacity to make the will, and did not understand what they were doing when making it. To be considered to have testamentary capacity the testator must:
A will challenge on the grounds of undue influence requires the challenger to establish the will is not valid because the testator was coerced or forced to make a will that is not reflective of their true intentions.
If you are thinking about challenging the will of a family member or friend, the results-oriented, effective estate lawyer at NULaw in Toronto can help. Contact us online or at 416-481-5604 before you take any action. We will help you navigate your options and formulate a pragmatic game-plan for moving forward.