A Grant of Probate is issued to give the Executors of an estate the authority to distribute the assets of someone who has passed away. The ideal time to contest a Will is prior to probate being granted. But what happens if you weren’t aware of what was in the Will until probate had begun?
It’s not too late to contest a Will after probate has begun, but there are certain time limits depending on your grounds for contesting a Will. This article will provide you with important information on how to contest a Will after probate.
Grounds for Contesting a Will After Probate
While every situation is different, there are many grounds for contesting a Will after probate, some of which include:
- Lack of Testamentary Capacity — The Testator is the person who made the Will. Lack of Testamentary Capacity means that the person claiming alleges that the Testator didn’t have the mental capacity to do so.
- Coercion — The Testator was forced into making the Will.
- Fraud — The Will was forged or, in other words, not signed by the Testator.
- Improperly Executed Will — Proper execution of a Will requires that it be signed by the Testator in the presence of two witnesses, all of whom sign in front of each other.
- You’re Left Out of the Will — If you are a close dependant or relative (spouse, partner, child, or dependant) of the Testator, and you believe you are entitled to a portion of their estate.
- Improperly Administered Estate — This occurs when the Executor has kept a portion of the money from the estate for themselves, incorrectly paid a beneficiary, failed to pay out money under the terms of a Trust established by the Will, or failed to keep proper records.
How to Contest a Will After Probate is Granted
If probate has been granted and you believe you have legitimate grounds to contest the Will, here are some steps you should take to make a claim.
Gather the Appropriate Documents
You will need a copy of the Wil. If the Executor withholds the Will, your solicitor can help you get a copy.
Your Relationship with the Deceased
Not everyone can contest a Will. Only family members, dependants, beneficiaries, creditors, or someone who has been promised something in the Will are able to contest it.
Your Grounds for Contesting the Will
Was the Will invalid? Was the Testator coerced into making the Will? Identify what the legal basis is for your claim. If you’re not sure, have a discussion with your solicitor. They will be able to help you establish grounds for contesting the Will and will let you know if you don’t have legal grounds to back your claim.
What are the Time Limits for Your Claim?
Depending on the type of claim, there are specific time limits in place. These time limits are based on The Limitations Act 1980.
- Financial Provision Claims — Must be made within six months of the issuance of the Grant of Probate
- Validity of the Will — No set time limit
- Forgery or Fraud — No set time limit
Decide if You’re Willing to Go to Court
In the ideal situation, you will be able to negotiate out of Court. Not only can the court be costly, but it can also be time-consuming. You may also find that the Judge may dismiss your case if they feel that you are delaying the Probate process for malicious reasons.
Contesting a Will? Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors Can Help
When a loved one passes away, it’s a very stressful and emotional time. In addition, If there are any surprises in a Will, things can get even messier. Speaking with an experienced solicitor about your grounds for contesting a Will can save you time and money. They can tell you if you have a valid claim to contest the Will after probate is granted, how long contesting the Will may take, how to do so, and what your chance of success would be.
At Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors, we know how daunting visiting a solicitor can be, especially during a difficult time in your life. That’s why we provide a friendly, comfortable environment where you can relax, knowing that our experienced team will listen to you and provide you with expert advice.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation in our private office in Winnersh Triangle or the comfort of your own home