When a person dies, their will is often the last thing on their mind. This document, however, can cause a great deal of contention among family members and loved ones. If you find yourself in the position of contesting a will in Ontario, it’s essential to understand the grounds on which you can do so, as well as the legal responsibilities you may have.
There are a few reasons why someone might contest a will in Ontario, and we’re here to explore them with you.
Who Can Contest a Will in Ontario?
In Ontario, anyone who stands to inherit under a will can contest it. This includes:
- The spouse or common-law partner of the deceased
- A child or grandchild of the deceased
- A parent or grandparent of the deceased
- A brother or sister of the deceased
- An aunt or uncle of the deceased
- A niece or nephew of the deceased
- A person who was financially dependent on the deceased
If the will is contested, the court will decide whether the will is valid or not. If the will is found to be valid, the court will then decide how the estate should be divided. If you’re thinking of contesting a will, you should speak to a lawyer to get advice on the best way to proceed.
What is the First Step in a Will Dispute? Breaking Down the Grounds
The first step in a will dispute is determining the grounds for contesting the will. There are a few different grounds that can be used to contest a will, and it’s essential to consult with an experienced lawyer to determine which grounds may be applicable in your case. The most common grounds for contesting a will are:
- Lack of Testamentary Capacity: This ground can be used if the testator (the person who made the will) did not have the mental capacity to understand the nature and consequences of making a will.
- Undue Influence: This ground can be used if the testator was influenced by someone else to make a will that was not in their best interests.
- Fraud: This ground can be used if the will was created as a result of fraud or deception.
- Forgery: This ground can be used if the will was forged or tampered with in some way.
If you believe that one of these grounds applies to your case, you may be able to contest the will. It is important to note that contesting a will can be a complex and time-consuming process, so it’s important to consult with an experienced lawyer before taking any action.
What Makes a Will Valid?
A will is a legal document that sets out how you want your property and possessions to be distributed after you die. For a will to be valid in Ontario, it must be in writing, signed by you, and witnessed by two adults who are not named in the will.
If you die without a valid will, your property will be distributed according to the laws of intestate succession. This means that your spouse or common-law partner will inherit your property, followed by your children, grandchildren, parents, and siblings. If you have no living relatives, your property will go to the government.
It is important to note that a will does not need to be witnessed by a lawyer or notary public to be valid. However, it is generally recommended that you have your will witnessed by a professional to avoid any potential challenges to the validity of your will.
The Bottom Line: The Importance of Working with a Lawyer When Contesting a Will
When it comes to contesting a will, it’s vital to have an experienced lawyer on your side. While it is possible to contest a will without a lawyer, working with an experienced lawyer can increase your chances of success and help you navigate the legal process.
Ontario Wills recognizes that each client has different circumstances and solutions; that’s why we steer away from a one-size-fits-all approach. With our help, you get a professional review and a comprehensive estate plan that meets your needs at an affordable price. Start writing your will with our will and estate lawyers today!