Kingston and Eastern Ontario Wills Lawyer
A valid will is a free expression of the testator’s wishes regarding the distribution of his or her estate upon death. A will must be in writing and conform to the requirements of execution as set out in Part I of the Succession Law Reform Act.
Wills can be challenged on the basis that the testator:
- lacked testamentary capacity;
- did not have knowledge of or approve the contents of the will;
- was unduly influenced; or
- failed to execute his or her will in accordance with the formal requirements of the
Succession Law Reform Act
Occasionally wills may also be challenged upon the allegations of forgery or fraud.
During a will challenge the onus of proof is placed upon the upholder of the will to demonstrate that a will was duly executed, that the testator had testamentary capacity at the time that the will was made, and that the testator had knowledge of and approved the contents of his or her will. A will challenger has the onus of proof where he or she is alleging that there has been undue influence on the testator.
An estate trustee ought not to administer a will that is unclear or where the expressed intentions of the testator are difficult to discern.
An estate trustee is not under an obligation to carry out what he or she thinks may have been the testator’s wishes. Rather, an estate trustee can apply to the Superior Court to have the will construed. In such cases, the objective of the Court will be to ascertain the intention of the testator respecting the disposition of his or her property. The Court achieves this by analyzing the testator’s use of language in the will together with the circumstances surrounding the testator’s life that may have influenced the testator at the time the will was drafted.
Fleming Estate Law can be called upon to provide written legal opinions to estate trustees and to interested beneficiaries as to the possible meaning of provisions of wills and, where appropriate, can apply to the Court to have a will interpreted where there is disagreement among all parties having an interest in an estate as to its meaning.
To get the professional help you need related to wills and estate law in Kingston, Eastern Ontario, and the surrounding areas, contact Fleming Estate Law today.