What are the Chances of Contesting a Will and Winning?

Wills, Wills Variation | July 27, 2021

As most wills are presumed to be valid by a court, it is often difficult to successfully challenge a will. When an individual or group files a wills variation claim, many factors affect the chance of success. As experts in wills, estates, and trust law, the probate lawyers at Linley Welwood LLP understand how complex wills and challenges can be. That is why we have compiled some information on the chances of contesting a will and winning to help individuals understand the process and other important factors.

Learn about the things to consider before filing a wills variation claim.

Who can Contest a Will?

There are limitations on who can file a wills variation claim and protest a will. In most cases, only “interested parties” may protest a will. These are individuals that stand to lose or gain something if the will is carried out as it is written in its current form. Interested parties typically include spouses, children, parents, siblings, grandchildren, and extended family members. In some instances, a testator may also name close friends and other individuals as beneficiaries, making them an interested party.

Find out what happens in beneficiaries disagree.

What Grounds do you Need to Contest a Will?

When an interested party wishes to contest a will, they must do so within a set period as outlined by the court. If an interested party waits too long before filing a wills variation claim, their challenge will be denied. To challenge a will, the party must have valid legal grounds for questioning the validity of the contents. The main reasons for contesting a will include:

  • The will does not adhere to relevant laws.
  • The instructions in the will are unclear.
  • The will contains elements of forgery or fraud.
  • The testator was unduly influenced by another party when writing the will.
  • The testator lacked the mental capacity to construct a will.

Learn more about the legal grounds for contesting a will.

When contesting a will based on one of these claims, the interested party must provide sufficient proof. The court will then listen to evidence from the estate and the party to determine if the will is valid. If the contents of the will are deemed to be invalid, a previous will may be deemed to be the last testament of the deceased. If no such will exists, the Wills, Estates, and Succession Act (“WESA”) automatically determines how a testator’s estate will be distributed.

What can you do if an executor does not follow a will?

What are the Chances of Winning?

The chances of contesting a will and winning will vary greatly based on the parties involved, the size of the estate, and the grounds on which the will is contested. Most challenges fail due to a lack of preparation and knowledge. To ensure the best chance of success, it is highly recommended to hire an experienced probate lawyer to assist you.

How long do you have to contest a will?

To learn more about contesting wills, wills variation claims, and other areas of estate law, get in touch with the lawyers at Linley Welwood. We can be reached at 604-850-6640 and are ready to answer any questions you may have.

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