Decades of combined experience to handle your every legal need.

What are common reasons for challenging a will?

On Behalf of | Apr 17, 2024 | Wills

When a loved one dies, their will often dictates where their assets and belongings will go. However, there are instances where individuals may contest or challenge the validity of a will.

This legal process can be complex, but it is important to understand the common reasons why someone might challenge a will.

Lack of testamentary capacity

One primary reason for challenging a will is if the deceased did not have the mental capacity to understand the consequences of creating a will. This could be due to factors such as dementia, mental illness or being under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of drafting the will.

Undue influence

Another common reason for challenging a will is the allegation of undue influence. This occurs when someone exerts pressure or coercion on the deceased to include certain provisions in the will that benefit them unfairly. For example, if a caregiver or family member manipulates the deceased into leaving them a significant portion of the estate, it could be grounds for contesting the will.

Fraud or forgery

If there is evidence to suggest that someone forged the will or misled the deceased about its contents, individuals can challenge it on the grounds of fraud. This could include situations where someone fakes the deceased’s signature or changes the terms of the will without their knowledge or consent.

Mistake or ambiguity

Wills must be unambiguous in their language to be valid. If there are errors or inconsistencies in the will that create confusion about the dead person’s intentions, it may face challenges in court. Common mistakes include incorrect descriptions of assets or beneficiaries, or vague language that people can interpret in different ways.


A will can face challenges if there is evidence that the deceased intended to revoke it but did not have the opportunity to do so formally. For example, if the dead person expressed their desire to create a new will or revoke the existing one but died before they could do so, it could raise questions about the validity of the original will.

When wills do not provide clarity, individuals can feel stressed. Careful consideration and evidence to support the claims can help someone contesting a will.