Estate Litigation

Fair Warning! Recent Judicial Treatment of No-Contest Clauses in Wills

One of the more controversial clauses that a testator can place in his or her will is a “no-contest” clause, the purpose of which is to deter any would-be challengers to the will and discourage fighting amongst beneficiaries. This objective is accomplished by wording to the effect that a beneficiary will be automatically disentitled to any distribution or gift contained in the will if he or she challenges the will or commences litigation in respect of the will. These clauses have often been challenged as being “in terrorem” – a category of unenforceable forfeiture clauses that includes restraints on marriage…


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Estate Litigation

Addressing the Problem Child: The Efficacy of Placing Limits on Testamentary Bequests

A recent case decided by the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta dealt with a rare, yet not unheard of, set of circumstances where a beneficiary survives the testator but passes away before a grant of probate is obtained. What made this case especially unique, however, is that the beneficiary in question (one of the testator’s four children) was designated to receive only a monthly income from an annuity that the trustee was directed to purchase with the beneficiary’s share of the estate. A dispute resulted about what, if anything, the deceased beneficiary’s estate was entitled to from her late…


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