How long does it take to contest a Will?

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There are many reasons why you may want to contest the Will of a loved one who has recently passed.

One of the first questions that people ask is, how long will the process take? There is no one answer for this query. The time taken to reach a conclusion varies from each individual case and relies upon several factors. 

Acting in a timely manner is crucial for a speedy process. A dispute must be raised within six months from the Grant of Probate.

Reasons to contest a Will

To try and reach the outcome that you desire, first you must make sure that you have a valid case.

For a person to contest a Will they must be what is called an Interested Party. By this we mean someone who was either a family member such as a spouse, ex spouse or dependent or someone that was extremely close to the deceased and depended on them financially leading up to their death. 

You must also have a legal reason for wanting to contest the Will, by either proving that the Will was invalid due to –

  1. The Will not being executed properly
  2. The Testator not being at full mental capacity when making their Will and not understanding the decisions they were making or the true value of their estate. 
  3. The Testator being coerced into making a decision due to undue influence. 
  4. The Will being forged. 

If you believe the Will is valid but claim that adequate financial provisions have not been made for you then you would raise a dispute under the Inheritance (Provisions for Family & Dependants) Act 1975. 

Time limits to make a claim

Acting in a timely manner is crucial for a speedy process. A dispute must be raised within six months from the Grant of Probate. Many Solicitors will offer a free consultation for you to discuss your concerns and to find out if you have a case worth pursuing. 

If you decide to go ahead with contesting the Will, your solicitor will try to settle out of court. This will be the quickest and most cost effective way to bring the matter to a close. Mediation is offered between the parties involved and the outcome of this all depends on how cooperative the parties are. 

If a decision cannot be reached out of court the case will then be passed onto the Courts where it will be heard in front of a Judge. This can take several months, or sometimes up to a year or more to be heard and is the most costly of the options available. All final decisions will then be for the Judge to decide. 

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