Educate Yourself About Law

Can You Dispute a Will for Being Unfair?

by Erika Reed

While will disputes might not be all that uncommon, they're generally unpleasant. This isn't to say that the process is always a contentious issue or a battle of the benefactors. It can, however, be disheartening to have to contest a will where you feel that you weren't appropriately considered and that you feel you have legitimate grounds to dispute. Is it really that simple though? Can you actually contest a will that you essentially feel was unfair to you?

The Notion of Fairness

The very notion of fairness is subjective, although you can contest a will when you feel that the document with its division of assets was objectively unfair. What grounds might you have when you believe this to be the case?

Financial Dependence

When you were financially dependent on the deceased and their will did not grant you what could be considered to be a reasonable financial provision, then you might have grounds for a dispute. This could be colloquially thought of as the will being unfair (at least in your opinion), but for your dispute to have merit, you must prove that a reasonable financial provision was not included in the will when it should have been, as you would be dependent on this for your ongoing financial support.

An Outdated Will

There are several reasons why this reasonable financial provision might not have been included in the will. The will might simply be outdated and can predate your dependence on the deceased. For example, it's conceivable that you married or entered into a common-law relationship with the deceased, and their will was not updated to reflect your inclusion in their life.

Disputing an Exclusion

There's also the matter of being deliberately excluded from the deceased's will. There might have been a breakdown in your relationship with them, to the point that they updated their will to ensure that you would not be a beneficiary. This is somewhat more complicated to contest since you would need to convince the courts that the rationale for your exclusion was not entirely reasonable. It might be that the legal system will choose to honour the final wishes of the deceased, so if you wish to contest a will on these grounds, it will require a frank discussion with your solicitor regarding the circumstances of your exclusion and whether or not any dispute will yield success.

In some instances, it can be problematic to contest a will, and yet this is not always going to be the case, particularly when your exclusion was a simple oversight. If you need help with a will dispute, contact an attorney near you.