Validity of a Will

A will can be challenged on a variety of legal grounds, including:

1. Technicalities

Sometimes a Will is incorrectly prepared or witnessed. In this eventuality the Will is usually totally invalid, and the estate is administered as if there is no Will in existence.

2. Lack of mental capacity

In certain cases, a person who has drawn up a will is not deemed mentally capable enough for it to be valid – for example when an elderly person is suffering from substantial mental health problems. Also, in some cases where a person is taking heavy prescription medication or is dealing with substance abuse (such as drugs or alcohol), they may not have the capacity to make a Will at the time they actually sign it. The person preparing the will may not recognise this lack of capacity, and the issue may only come to light after the person who has made the Will has died.

3. Lack of knowledge and approval

It can be the case that a testator – someone who has made a Will – does not know and/or understand the nature of the Will that has been signed.

4. Undue influence

Sometimes family members put undue pressure or coercion on someone making a Will to make provision in their favour or someone else’s. A will can be rendered invalid on this ground.

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