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Can I challenge my parent or partner’s will if I’m disappointed?

Losing a loved one is never easy. People can experience grief, sadness and sometimes anger over any issues that might have been left unresolved.

Adding the complicated legal process of settling a person’s estate on top of all of this can make the situation that much more difficult. This can be especially true for children or partners who feel their loved one’s will is unfair or inappropriate. Under these circumstances, these parties may wish to request that the courts change the person’s will.

When might the courts change a will?

Changing a person’s wishes as described in a will is not something the courts take lightly. However, they have the power to do so in certain situations.

As this article describes, the court may change a will if it:

  • Fails to adequately provide for a child, spouse or common-law spouse
  • Is the result of coercion or undue influence
  • Was created by someone who was mentally incapacitated at the time
  • Is not valid

Should the courts determine any of these to be the case, they can make changes. This could include enforcing a previous version of a person’s will or setting the will aside altogether and instead following the rules of distribution established in the Wills, Estates and Succession Act (WESA).

Who can file a claim against an estate?

Spouses, common-law spouses and children are most often the ones to contest a person’s will. However, it is possible for others to do so, though the process can be more complicated. And not everyone has legal standing to contest a will.

Preventing disputes when making a will

As a will-maker, creating a clear, fair and enforceable will can be a great gift to those you leave behind. Not only can it make the legal process easier to navigate, it can also prevent disputes that might arise between those closest to you.

Whether you are making a will or considering the options to challenge a loved one’s will, legal guidance and support can be quite valuable. Without an understanding of how the system works, parties can wind up confused and involved in heated disputes during an already tumultuous time.

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