Can a Beneficiary Contest A Will?

Can a Beneficiary Contest a Will

A will is a set of instructions that determines what happens to a person’s estate when they are deceased. These instructions can include but are not limited to, what happens to a person’s property, naming an estate representative, and naming a guardian for dependents. Our Edmonton wills and estates lawyers are prepared to assist you with your estate planning, contact us today.

Requirements to Write a Will

Typically, in Alberta, you are required to be 18 years old and must be mentally capable in order to write a will. There are multiple requirements for a person to be mentally capable of writing a will. Individuals who are under the age of 18 may potentially draft a will if they are married/have an adult interdependent partner, is a member of Canadian forces, or have been allowed to write a will as determined by a court. A will must be handwritten and signed by the drafter of the will, called the testator.

Adult Interdependent Partner

Alberta no longer uses the term “common law” when describing a relationship. Instead, Alberta uses the term adult interdependent partner, which includes partners who have drafted an adult interdependent partnership agreement, have lived together for 3 years in an interdependent relationship, or have a child together and are in an interdependent partnership.

Types of Wills

There are several different types of wills. Some wills may be informal wills that are handwritten and do not require witnesses, whereas some wills may be formal, which do require witnesses. If you choose not to write a will, your estate will be distributed according to Alberta’s intestacy rules outlined in the Wills and Succession Act.

Beneficiary of a Will

A beneficiary is a person named in a will to receive from the testator's estate. A beneficiary can also be a person who wasn’t named in a will but will receive from the testator's estate according to Alberta’s intestacy laws.

Challenging a Will

Challenging or contesting a will requires that a court finds that the will is not valid. A will may be found not valid for numerous reasons.

  1. The deceased was not mentally capable at the time when they wrote the will. In order to be mentally capable of writing a will, you must understand what a will is and that you are writing one, understand your property, and understand those who are dependent on you for support.
  2. The testator was being influenced or pressured when they were drafting the will.
  3. The will does not provide support to dependents.
  4. The will was not carried out properly.

The reasons included in this article are examples and are not exhaustive. For more information, you can contact an estate lawyer.

Contact Verhaeghe Law Estate Lawyers for Advice on Contesting a Will in Alberta.

Verhaeghe lawyers have been proudly serving Edmonton’s communities for decades with legal matters relating to wills and estates. Contact our Edmonton estate lawyers for assistance on all your estate related legal matters.

*Disclaimer: Please note the content prescribed in this article is only intended to act as a general overview on a legal topic. For specific legal guidance regarding challenging a will, we recommend you consult with an estate lawyer for legal advice.

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