Contesting a will after probate

In Wills and Probate

Just because probate has been granted doesn't mean you're too late to contest a will, but it does mean you need to act fast.

Ideally, if you are planning on contesting a will, you will do so before probate has been granted. This is simply because once the assets have been shared out between the inheritors, it is harder to reassess everything.

However, what if you can’t do that? Perhaps you don’t know what’s in the will until probate has begun.

It’s not too late to attempt to contest a will. Whilst there are time limits, depending on what the grounds for contesting are, it is still possible to contest a will after probate.

Here’s how you do it:

  • Contact a solicitor as soon as possible. Explain that you are looking to contest a will, give your grounds for contesting and let them know that probate has already been granted. Your solicitor will be able to let you know how likely you are to be successful.
  • The sooner you register your concern, the better a chance you have with your grounds for contesting. For example, if you wait months or even a year to contest a will, it looks like it is not particularly important to you, and is not necessary. In many cases, the grounds for contesting become void after 6 months.
  • Even if probate has begun, but the assets have not been shared out yet, it is possible to contest. Before probate, your solicitor would enter a ‘caveat’ to put a hold on probate. After probate has been granted, you can enter a letter of claim or threat of proceedings which will usually halt the distribution of the assets until your claim has been resolved.
  • It may also be possible to ask for an injunction that stops the distribution of the assets (depending on the situation) and it is not impossible to try to recover assets that have been distributed already.
  • Try to have as much of the necessary paperwork to hand. If probate has been granted, you will have access to the will and can see how assets have been distributed. Having any documentation that supports your claim will mean your solicitor can begin processing your case as soon as possible.

Contesting a will can be a difficult, long case. Often emotions are fraught when it comes to the death of a loved one, and surprises in a will can mean emotions run high. Talking to a trained, experienced solicitor about your expectations and grounds for contesting will save you time and money in the long run. Your solicitor will be able to break down how long contesting a will might take, how you can go about it, and what your chances of success are after probate has been granted.