Validity of the Will

After a family member dies, there may be a great deal of money and strong emotions at play. Disagreements about your loved one's Will could lead to painful conflicts that may be difficult to repair, both financially and emotionally.

If you suspect there's something wrong with a Will or with the way it is being carried out, it's essential to get legal advice quickly, before family disagreements become destructive or you lose your right to challenge the Will or obtain compensation.

The lawyers at Vice & Hunter LLP can be objective. We can ensure that you don't waste your time on a fruitless legal pursuit, while also making sure that you don't lose your chance to fight for your rightful inheritance if something is amiss. If you are the executor or trustee of a Will that is being challenged, we can also give you our opinion on its validity, and help you defend it.

Contesting A Will

It can be difficult to accept being disinherited, or not receiving as much as you believed you are entitled to. This is especially true if you are the spouse or child of the deceased, if you were dependant on the deceased in some way, or if the Will was changed very recently.

We will first determine if you have the legal right to challenge the Will. We will then suggest options to you as to how to proceed and provide our recommendations.

There are many grounds to challenge a Will, including:

  • Formal requirements: For example, Ontario law requires Wills to be signed before two witnesses who are not beneficiaries, unless it is fully handwritten.
  • Capacity of the testator: A testator must be aware that he or she is making a Will, understand the assets involved, know the beneficiaries and understand what the Will says. If the deceased was mentally incapable due to physical or mental illness, drug or alcohol addiction, or dementia, he or she may not have been able to make a valid Will.
  • Undue influence: If somebody named in the Will pressured or threatened the testator, it may not have been written according to the testator's true intent.
  • Unclear terms: The Will may be too vague in some places, or easy to interpret in different ways.

Contact Vice & Hunter LLP

Call us at 613-701-0898 or fill out our online form to learn more about how we can help you challenge or defend a Will in Ottawa and surrounding areas.