When can you challenge a will for testamentary capacity?

Wills are the last voice of the testator in the eyes of the court. However, sometimes there is a concern for the validity of a will. One cannot simply challenge a will because people are unhappy, but there are real reasons that may call for the contesting of a will.

If you believe that your loved one did not have sufficient mental ability to create a valid will, you may be able to challenge on the grounds of testamentary capacity. Any adult over the age of 18 can create a will and is assumed to have the ability to do so. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Here are some instances when the testator’s capacity to create a will may be impacted:

  • The testator was affected by a disease that changed their mental state, like dementia or Parkinson’s disease
  • They suffered from a mental health disorder, specifically one involving delusions or hallucinations that would have affected their actions
  • They suffered recent trauma that affected their abilities
  • Substances such as drugs or alcohol may have influenced the testator
  • They did not have the mental capacity to understand what a will is or the effect that it will have
  • They did not fully understand their estate
  • They did not know the value of their property
  • They did not understand who the beneficiaries are or who expects to be in the will (people they gave support to)
  • They did not understand how the distribution of property would work
  • There is a general concern for the testator’s mental capacity, including confusion, memory issues or personality changes

If you believe that your loved one lacked sufficient mental capacity to create a valid will, you may be able to contest it. Talk to a lawyer to understand if you can challenge the will and how to do so.