Common Types of Estate Litigation in Ontario
There are several reasons why a party may challenge an estate, but the following are some of the most common issues:
Beneficiaries or those who were left out of a Will may choose to challenge the Will itself, either because they question the capacity of the deceased at the time the Will was created, or because they may suspect undue influence on the deceased in the drafting or execution of the document. It is important that a testator have a full appreciation of their assets and how they will be allocated at the time they sign their Will. If a party has sufficient reason to suspect this was not the case, they may bring a challenge in court.
Dependants Relief Applications
In Ontario, people generally have the freedom to allocate their belongings as they see fit upon their death. However, there are certain mandatory provisions that must be considered when the deceased has dependents, such as a spouse, minor children, or a family member requiring ongoing care. Under the Succession Law Reform Act, if a testator fails to adequately provide for a dependant in their Will, that person, or their representative, can bring a claim for Dependant’s Relief to have the proceeds of the estate reallocated as necessary to satisfy the testator’s statutory obligations.
Estate Trustee Challenges
The Trustee or Trustees of an estate have a number of important responsibilities that must be carried out in accordance with the law. Estate Trustees are expected to ensure the wishes of the deceased are carried out as expressed in the Will, and they are also acting in a fiduciary capacity on behalf of the beneficiaries. This means that everything they do must be in the beneficiaries’ best interests. If a party involved, generally a beneficiary or another Trustee, suspects that funds are being mismanaged, or a Trustee is not acting quickly enough in dealing with the estate’s assets, they may bring an application to have that person removed and/or replaced as Estate Trustee. In estates with multiple Trustees, the various Trustees may disagree on how best to manage the estate and one or more parties may seek guidance from the court on key issues.
Contact Prudent Law in Toronto for Litigators with Broad Experience in Estate Litigation Matters
Whether you are an Estate Trustee seeking clarification of your duties, a beneficiary wishing to challenge a Will, or another party with an interest in the distribution of an estate, the lawyers at Prudent Law in Toronto can help. Our estate litigation lawyers are experienced in a variety of estate litigation matters and will work to ensure your rights are protected. We provide practical advice and skilled representation in both litigation and alternative dispute resolution options. If you would like to discuss your estate litigation matter in a confidential consultation, please call us at 905-361-9789 or contact us online.