What Are The Grounds For Contesting a Will in Ontario?

Two sisters fighting over a will

When a loved one dies, you will have a number of legal responsibilities to deal with… one of the major ones being locating the person’s will and administer the estate according to the wishes laid out in it.

However, the most complicated legal battles around wills are when disagreements arise. 

Have you considered what happens when a will is contested in Ontario? Or, better yet, are you aware of the grounds for contesting a will in Ontario?

We have outlined what happens when a will is contested and what exactly are the justifications for contesting a will. 

Who Can Contest a Will? 

It’s important to know that not everyone has the right to contest a will. 

In order to qualify for contesting a will, you must have had a certain type of relationship with the deceased. This includes if you were family members, were considered family members, lived with the deceased and were in a romantic relationship or finally were mentioned by name in the will. 

What is the First Step in a Will Dispute?

In cases where it is not possible to resolve a contested will situation within the family, your next step would be to seek advice from a lawyer who specializes in contentious probate.

Contentious probate or a disputed will is a dispute involving inheritance or the validity of a will. From there, your lawyer will be able to guide you through what your role is in the dispute process and how they will be able to assist you.  A first step may be filing with the Court to block the appointment of the estate trustee and advise the court that the issues are in dispute.

What are the Grounds for Contesting a Will?

There are a couple of common situations when the courts have determined the validity of the contention should be enforced. 

Wills in Ontario can be challenged on different grounds. Below are some of the most common concerns during the contesting of a will: 

  • Fraud or unclear intentions 
  • Unwarranted influence  
  • Lack of capacity to make a will 
  • Not properly witnessed when signed
  • Lack of conditions for spouse or dependants 

There are additional grounds for contesting a will, which we have outlined in our article, ‘Under What Circumstances May a Will be Contested in Ontario?’. 


Having trouble finalizing a will or having issues with family members?  

Feel free to call our office today to book a free 30-minute consultation.

This blog is made available by the law firm publisher, Epstein & Associates, for educational purposes. It provides general information and a general understanding of the law but does not provide specific legal advice. Any specific questions about your legal concerns please contact us now and speak to an expert today.