Our partner Holly LeValliant gave a talk on in terrorem clauses at the Six Minute Estate Lawyer event held by the Law Society on April 29th. In plain English, in terrorem clauses are stipulations in Wills that make bequests conditional upon the recipient not taking certain actions. They are most often used to prevent beneficiaries from challenging … Continued
Trusted and Knowledgeable Estate Lawyers for Will Challenges
Anyone with a financial interest in an estate can bring an application to court to contest or challenge a will. If you think you should have been named in the will of a friend or family member but have not been, or if you wish to otherwise contest the contents of a will, you should first consult with an estate lawyer. Contesting a will can be a difficult and arduous process – a lawyer can determine whether you are eligible to bring such a claim and can assist you in fully understanding your legal rights, assessing the options that you may have, as well as comprehending the potential risks and costs of moving forward with a will challenge.
The team of knowledgeable lawyers at Eisen Law can provide you with the necessary guidance to help you navigate all of your options and formulate a plan. As a boutique firm practicing in estate litigation, we have multiple years of focused experience providing advice and guidance to individuals contemplating a will challenge and have successfully assisted many people with excellent results.
Contesting a Will
There are generally three ways in which to challenge a will:
- Formal requirements not met
- Lack of testamentary or mental capacity
- Undue influence
An individual opposing or challenging a will has the legal burden of proving one or more of these factors and must provide sufficient evidence to do so.
Formal Requirements Not Met
Challenging a will on the basis of formality involves establishing the existence of problems with the will document itself – this can include improper witnessing or lack of a witness, lack of a signature, absence of an original copy of the will, or other similar issues.
Lack of Testamentary or Mental Capacity
A will can be challenged on the basis that the deceased lacked sufficient testamentary capacity, and did not know what they were doing when the will was made. Mental or testamentary capacity of the testator is a critical element of a valid will – not only must the testator be able to give clear instructions vis-à-vis their will, but they must also understand what he or she is instructing, and must want their instructions carried out. The testator must be of sound mind, and, among other things, must have knowledge and understanding of their assets, must comprehend the consequences of making a will, must understand to whom they are bequeathing their assets, and must understand that anyone who is excluded from the will may have grounds to make a claim.
Challenging a will on the basis of undue influence involves establishing that the will is not valid because the testator was forced or otherwise persuaded to make a will that does not reflect their true intentions or desires.
Contact the estate litigation lawyers at Eisen Law in Toronto for assistance with challenging a will
If you are contemplating an application to challenge a will, contact the lawyers at Eisen Law in Toronto before you take any action. We can provide you with knowledgeable advice to help you navigate your options and create a plan for moving forward. Call us at 416-591-9997 or contact us online to set up a consultation with one of our dedicated and skilled lawyers.
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