A no contest clause in a Will — what is that? While it’s no guarantee your estate may not be challenged in court, it could just help.
Like most Ontario Will makers, you planned your estate carefully. Picked the important people in your life you want to leave bequests to. Wrote out a carefully crafted memorandum of wishes that, although not legally enforceable, gives your estate trustee useful direction after you’re gone.
Now consider including a no contest clause in Wills. Whether you write your own Will or have an Axess Law professional draft it, having a no contest clause in Wills serves notice that beneficiaries could lose their bequest if they challenge your Will in court.
What is a No Contest Clause in a Will?
Four reason you’re right to ask what is a no contest clause in a Will before you agree to it:
- Estate litigation is costly.
- Your estate assets bear the cost of lawsuits beneficiaries bring.
- Hurt feelings can be prevented just by how you write your Will.
- Avoiding probate delays reduces the burden on estate executors.
What is probate and why you should care.
Adding a No Contest Clause in a Will
Probate dramas can play out in Ontario probate court regardless of whether you have a no contest clause in a Will. Including it is no guarantee your beneficiaries won’t file legal action to contest your estate.
What to include in a basic Will in Ontario.
No contest clauses in Wills are not legally binding. Accordingly, a probate court judge can make any determination they see fit about how to allocate your assets. Your estate is particularly at risk from aggrieved beneficiaries you leave out of your Will. Or those who think they deserve more.
Grounds for Legally Challenging Ontario Wills
But your Will could also be challenged if:
- spouses, minor children and financial dependents are unfairly excluded
- you were mentally incapable when you signed it
- you were coerced or bullied into changing it
- a new suitor, family member or caregiver unduly influenced your last Will and testament.
What to do if a Will maker is unduly influenced.
What is a No Contest Clause in a Will Good for Then?
Discouraging beneficiaries who have grand designs on your assets can be a good excuse to include a no contest clause. For all the same reasons stated above, indicating legal actions will be vigourously challenged could thwart some beneficiaries. After all, it’s your estate and as you and your executor may agree, how you decide to distribute it should be up to you.
Read the ultimate guide to Wills in Ontario.
Why You Need a Lawyer for Wills
Axess Law’s Wills and estates lawyers draft new Wills every time your assets or personal circumstances change. Why leave your estate trustee saddled with confusing changes or multiple codicils to interpret after you pass on when you can just write a new Will? It’s quick and convenient when you use Axess Law.
Imagine what could happen if your holographic or handwritten Will failed to stand up in probate court because you made easily correctable errors. Even more daunting, you failed to write a personal Will in time and your entire estate was left to a probate judge to interpret.
Dying intestate without a Will can be heartbreaking for minors and dependants who rely on you for financial support. By the time your estate is probated, they could be in dire financial straits.
Now think how your loved ones would feel if a family member you planned to disinherit or long-lost relative you barely knew applied for and got a certificate of estate trustee without a Will. Your hard-earned assets could be disbursed in ways you never intended.
As Ontario lawyers specializing in Wills, Axess Law knows all the right clauses to include for your specific bequests. We store your last Will and testament for a modest, one-time fee and give you a non-original to distribute to your executor and family as you see fit.
Why we recommend hiring a lawyer for Wills.
Your final estate plans are protected when you have an Axess Law lawyer for Wills prepare your Will and power of attorney documents. Your Will is signed and witnessed properly, along with the affidavits of execution your executor will need for Ontario probate court.
Your first probate consultation is free!
Ask About Our Flat Fee Legal Services
Drafting Wills and power of attorney in Ontario doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
When you’re looking for cheap Wills (Toronto, Greater Toronto Area or Ottawa), ask about Axess Law’s low, flat fee legal services. We’re fast and affordable, with law offices near you. Drafting basic Wills is just $199.99 and up plus HST — $149.99 plus HST each when you and your spouse or partner make mirror or individual Wills together.
Adding power of attorney for personal care and property to individual virtual wills is only $249.99 and up each plus HST when you make a virtual Will using our remote Wills lawyers. Or pay just $299.99 and up each plus HST to meet with a Wills and power of attorney lawyer in person.
Phone to Book Appointments or Go Online
Axess Law Wills lawyers in Ontario make remote, virtual Wills calls anywhere in Ontario. Arranging appointments is quick and easy with our online booking form. Or dial our 647-479-0118 lawyer line (toll free to 877-402-4277) to book a remote or in person Wills or probate consultation. We have locations near you, with onsite parking and easy transit access.