Ridout Barron


On what grounds can a will be challenged?

Losing a loved one is understandably traumatic, and it could be even more difficult for a surviving loved one to learn that he or she was unfairly treated or disinherited by the deceased. There could be many questions about contesting the will and not a lot of time in which to take action. Learning about the steps to take under Alberta laws will be a time-sensitive matter to deal with before the estate is settled.

If it can be shown that the deceased lacked the necessary mental capacity when he or she made the will, there would be grounds to contest the will. This could be an issue if sudden changes were made shortly before the person's death. The person might have become mentally incapacitated, causing him or her to change the will without understanding his or her assets, obligations and the effect and nature of a will.

Another matter to investigate is undue influence. A family member, acquaintance, care-giver or another individual can take advantage of an older person and coerce him or her to modify the will. Other grounds for contesting a will include vague, contradictory or improper language. This often occurs when a person writes his or her own will. A will that is witnessed by the person's wife, children or other beneficiaries of the estate might be deemed invalid.

The estate of anyone in Alberta who dies without having drawn up a will or testament will be settled according to the laws of intestacy. This means that the court will authorize the distribution of the estate based on a statutory declaration of the law of descent and distribution, which may or may not have been how the deceased would have done things had a will been executed. Challenging a will is a complicated legal process. For that reason, obtaining the services of an experienced Alberta estate planning lawyer is often the best way to achieve the preferred outcome.

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Ridout Barron

802 13th Ave SW
Calgary, AB T2R 0L2
Phone: 587-315-8454
Fax: 403-271-8016
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