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When a loved one passes away, it’s difficult for everyone. Along with the emotional grief, legal issues also need to be addressed, including the distribution of their assets. This is where will and estate law come into play. In this article, we’ll explain will and estate law and how it impacts your inheritance. 

What is Will and Estate Law? 

Will and estate law deals with the legal rules and regulations that govern the distribution of a person’s assets after they pass away. The law sets out the requirements for creating a valid will, appointing an executor, and administering the estate. The goal of will and estate law is to ensure that a person’s assets are distributed fairly and equitably according to their wishes. 

What is a Will? 

A will is a legal document outlining how a person’s assets will be distributed after death. It can also appoint an executor responsible for administering the estate. Depending on the person’s circumstances, a will can be as simple or complex as needed. A will must meet certain legal qualities, to be valid. It must be in writing, signed by the testator (the person making the will), and witnessed by two witnesses who are not beneficiaries of the will. The testator must also have the mental capacity to make a will and not be under undue influence.

How Does Will and Estate Law Impact Your Inheritance? 

When a person passes away, their assets will be distributed according to the terms of their will (if they have one) or according to the rules of intestacy (if they do not have a will). Where a person dies without a valid will Intestacy refers to the situation. In this case, the distribution of their assets will be governed by the laws of the province or territory where they lived.

The distribution of assets under intestacy can vary depending on the jurisdiction. In most cases, the assets will be distributed to the person’s spouse or common-law partner, children, and other relatives. However, the rules can be complex, and it’s important to consult a lawyer to understand your rights and entitlements.

If there is a valid will, the assets will be distributed according to the terms of the will. The estate executor is responsible for administering the estate, which includes paying any debts or taxes owed and distributing the assets to the beneficiaries. If there are any disputes or challenges to the will’s validity, a court may need to intervene to resolve the issue.

Challenges to a Will 

There are several reasons why a person may challenge the validity of a will. These include:

  • Lack of capacity: The testator did not have the mental capacity to make a valid will.
  • Undue influence: The testator was under undue influence from another person who influenced the terms of the will.
  • Improper execution: The will was not properly executed; for example, it was not signed or witnessed properly.
  • Fraud: The will was fraudulent; for example, it was forged, or the testator was tricked into signing it.

If a challenge to a will is successful, the court may declare the will invalid, and the rules of intestacy will govern the distribution of assets.

Contact Minhas Lawyers today 

Will and estate law is an essential part of estate planning. It ensures that a person’s assets are distributed according to their wishes and fairly and equitably. If you’re planning your estate or dealing with the estate of a loved one, it’s important to consult an Estate lawyer who is experienced in estate matters.  A lawyer can help you create a valid will, appoint an executor, and administer the estate. They can also advise you on your rights and entitlements and help you navigate any disputes or challenges to the will. Contact Minhas Lawyers for all your Will and estate planning. 

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Minhas Lawyers LLP is a multi-practice law firm based in Mississauga. We advise and represent clients across various segments and practice areas.

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