Will Challenges


In the province of Ontario, individuals who perceive a financial stake in an estate are granted the right to begin legal proceedings to contest or dispute a will. This typically arises when someone feels they have been unjustly excluded from the will of a family member, friend, or loved one, or when there are legitimate grounds to question the content of the will itself.

Challenging a will is a complicated processes, requiring expert understanding of estate law. Therefore, seeking the advice of an estates lawyer before embarking on a will challenge is highly advantageous. At Derfel Estate Law, our team of experienced estates lawyers specialize in guiding clients through various estate litigation matters, including will challenges. Their commitment to provide tailored solutions for each client ensures that their unique circumstances are addressed, and that the outcomes align with their goals.

Three Grounds to Challenge a Will

In Ontario, there are three ways in which a will can be challenged:

  • Formal requirements not met
  • Lack of testamentary or mental capacity
  • Undue influence.

The person seeking to challenge, contest, or oppose the will has the onus (i.e. responsibility) of proving that one or more of these factors exist and must provide sufficient evidence to back up their position.

Formal Requirements Not Met

A will can be challenged on the basis that some of the formal requirements necessary for a will to be valid are missing.

Contesting a will on the basis of defects in formality requires the person making the challenge to establish the existence of problems with the will itself. Formal defects can include lack of a witness, lack of a signature, absence of an original copy of the will, and similar.

Lack of Testamentary Capacity

A will can be contested on the basis that the testator (i.e. person making the will) lacked sufficient testamentary capacity at the time the will was made and did not understand or know what they were doing.

In order for a will to be valid, the testator must be of sound testamentary capacity and be able to give clear instructions about their wishes, understand what they are instructing, and want their wishes to be carried out. The testator must also have knowledge and understanding of, among other things, their assets, what they wish to bequeath and the consequences of making a will.

Undue Influence

A will can be challenged on the basis of undue influence, which involves establishing that the testator was forced or otherwise unduly persuaded to make a will that does not reflect their true wishes or intentions.

Contact the Barrie Estate Lawyers at Derfel Estates Law for Guidance with Challenging or Contesting a Will

If you are considering filing an application to challenge a will, contact the estates lawyers at Derfel Estate Law before you proceed. We can help you determine whether you are eligible to bring such a claim, can help you understand your options and rights, and can represent you throughout the challenge process.

Call us at 705-812-2100 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.