Frequently Asked Questions – Contesting a Will

Contesting a will is a hard but sometimes necessary process, and it can be difficult to navigate the rules and regulations that surround it.

Last will and testamentIn our experience as will dispute lawyers, we have come across some common questions that people need answers to when it comes to contesting wills. We’ve answered some of the main ones here, so you know where you stand before taking action.

Can A Will Be Challenged After Probate Has Been Granted?

An application to challenge a will must be brought within 9 months. A will can be challenged after probate has been granted provided it is still within the 9 months after the will-maker’s death.

Contesting A Will After Probate Is Granted

Probate is the Supreme Court’s official recognition that a will is legally valid. Contesting a will after probate has been granted makes the process more difficult – you will need to meet a range of conditions before your application proceeds.

Because probate has already been granted, the onus is on the person contesting the will to prove the will is invalid, usually based on new information that wasn’t available before probate was granted. New information could include situations where:

  • An older will that contains conflicting wishes to the will that was granted probate was discovered.
  • The executor is not performing their duties correctly after probate was granted, causing beneficiaries to receive assets of reduced value or not receive them at all.

How To Contest A Will After Probate

A person wishing to contest a will must serve an application giving notice of their intention to the executor. The application must be accompanied by an affidavit setting out the grounds why they believe adequate provision has not been made for them in the will-maker’s will.

Is There A Time Limit To Probate A Will?

There is no time limit to obtain probate. However, an executor becomes liable to pay interest on any legacy not distributed within 1 year of the will-maker’s death.

How Much Does It Cost To Contest A Will?

The cost of contesting a will depends on many factors, including the complexity of the mater, the level of co-operation between the executor and the person contesting, the strength of the contesting person’s claim, how much external evidence (e.g. medical reports, forensic accountants reports) are needed to establish the contesting person’s claim and the length of time it takes to resolve the application. If cost will be an important factor for you, we recommend speaking to a specialist estate lawyer, who can run through your options and give you an estimate of potential costs based on your specific situation.

For more information on contesting a will, visit our will disputes page. Alternatively, feel free to contact our friendly team – we can help you figure out the best course of action for your specific situation.