Time Limits for Contesting a Will in the UK

Understanding the Importance of Timely Will Contests

It is fundamentally important to establish the correct time limit at the outset of any claim. There are a number of possible time limits in probate and inheritance claims, which will depend upon the individual circumstances of each case.

How Long Do You Have to Contest a Will?

Generally speaking, in claims to challenge the validity of a Will, there is no time limit. However, if a person delays in bringing their claim then the court may hold that as a result of this delay the person is no longer entitled to bring the claim. Further the court may strike out a claim if it is “frivolous or vexatious or is for other reasons an abuse of process”.

In claims for financial provision under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, the time limit is six months from the date of the Grant of Probate or Grant of Letters of Administration. The court does have power to extend the time limit, however it would be necessary to for the applicant to establish sufficient grounds to take the case outset the general rule. It must be just and proper for the court to exercise its discretion to extend the time.
In certain other limited probate actions (mainly those brought by beneficiaries), the time limit to bring a claim is 12 years.

Defending a Will contest - Benefits of Consulting with Experienced Will Contesting Lawyers at Mullis & Peake:

Having a Will is important if you die without a will, the Intestacy Rules say how the money, property or possessions should be allocated. When a person dies the executors must administer the estate in accordance with the terms of the Will. It is not uncommon for individuals, family members and others to challenge a Will if they feel they’ve been excluded from the Will.

In all such instances, the importance of seeking expert legal support at the earliest possible stage cannot be overstated.

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Frequently asked questions

If you are alleging that the Will is a fraud then there are no time limits. If you are a disappointed beneficiary then you would need to bring your claim within 12 years. And if it is the case that you are saying that the Will does not provide for you financially then that claim would need to be made within six months of the issue that granted probate or in the case of an intestacy, granted letters of administration.

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