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Someone I relied on for support didn’t leave me anything in their will. Is there anything I can do?

In most circumstances, individuals in Ontario are free to leave their estate to anyone they wish when they pass away. However, in some cases, if a deceased person failed to take proper care of certain people in their will, those people may be able to make a claim against the deceased person’s estate for more.

The Succession Law Reform Act provides that where a deceased has not “made adequate provision” for the support of a dependant, the court may order further provisions be made. This means that if you are a spouse, child, sibling or parent of a deceased person, and you were dependant on the deceased person for support before they died, the court may be willing to order that you are entitled to additional support from the deceased person’s estate. The support a claimant may be awarded depends on the circumstances of the case, and only certain “dependants” qualify for support under the law.

It is important to keep in mind that as with many issues in estate litigation, there are limitation periods that may prohibit you from bringing a dependant support claim if you fail to act quickly. If you think you may be entitled to support from someone who passed away, you should talk to an estate litigation lawyer as soon as possible.