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What You Need To Know About The Right To Disinherit A Beneficiary

What You Need to Know About the Right to Disinherit a Beneficiary

In Ontario, people have the right to determine how their assets should be distributed when they die, with certain legally-mandated limitations. This right is known as testamentary freedom, derived from English common law. As public interests have become more prominent, testamentary freedom has been diminished to some extent so that dependents may be ensured adequate provisions in a will. 

Forced Heirship

Forced heirship is an important concept in estate planning, as it ensures that a portion of an estate is passed on to certain family members. It is a legal obligation imposed on the deceased, meaning that a portion of their estate must be distributed to certain relatives regardless of their wishes. This ensures that the deceased’s relatives are cared for, even after death.

The amount and proportions of the inheritance are predetermined and usually depend on the laws of the state in which the deceased resided. Generally, most of the estate is passed on to the spouse and children of the deceased. However, other family members, such as siblings and parents, may also be entitled to a portion of the inheritance.

Challenging a Will

A person who is unhappy with a will may try to challenge it in court. This could be because the person making the will may not have had the legal ability to do so or because someone dependent on the deceased was not provided for in the will. While it is difficult to completely prevent a challenge to the will, there are ways to reduce the chance of this happening, such as providing for the dependents in the will.

In cases where a person does not wish to leave a certain beneficiary anything in their will, they may write a letter or memorandum to explain their decision. This letter is designed to help prevent the beneficiary from challenging the will and to make sure that the willmaker was aware of their decision not to leave them anything. The letter serves as a way to provide evidence that the exclusion of the beneficiary was intentional and not an oversight.

The Anti-Litigation Clause

An anti-litigation clause is a tool that can be used to discourage potential beneficiaries from challenging a will. The clause states that if a beneficiary attempts to challenge the will, they will forfeit their entitlements. This clause must also provide an alternate beneficiary who will receive any entitlements forfeited and must not prevent court applications related to the dependant’s relief or the proper interpretation of a will.

When making a will, it may be a wise precaution to have a professional assess the will maker’s ability to make decisions to prevent potential legal challenges from those who may not be satisfied with the will’s contents. If there is a chance that someone may dispute a will, it is important to get expert advice to ensure that the will maker’s wishes can be carried out.


It is important to understand the right to disinherit a beneficiary. Disinheriting a beneficiary is a legal right that allows a person to exclude someone from receiving any inheritance or bequest under their will. However, it is important to understand that disinheriting a beneficiary can be a complicated process and should only be done after carefully considering the consequences of the decision. 

It is also important to know any applicable state laws that may affect the process. Finally, it is important to remember that disinheriting someone from an inheritance can be difficult and should be done with care.

Ontario Wills is a team of wills and estate lawyers in Kanata, ON, dedicated to providing quality legal advice about will preparations and updates. We cater to the needs of every client as we know that there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. We take the time to understand your circumstances and give you peace of mind. If you need sound legal advice, get in touch with us today! 

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