How Long Do You Have to Contest a Will?

The time limit for contesting a will can vary significantly, and it depends on the nature of your dispute. If you are considering contesting a will, you should seek legal advice straight away. In some circumstances, delays in contesting a will may affect the outcome of the case. This is because deferring making a claim can be considered to indicate that you accept that the will is valid. Delays can even mean that you miss your opportunity to lodge a claim.

Types of dispute: how long do you have to contest a will for each claim type?

  • Clerical errors: up to six months from the issue of probate
  • Claim for reasonable financial provision: up to six months from the issue of probate
  • Claims against an estate: up to 12 years from the date of death
  • Claim of fraud /invalidity: No time limit

More details of time restrictions are laid out in the Limitation Act of 1980, and one of our solicitors can explain these to you when you contact us.

What is probate?

Probate is the process of handling the assets of a person who has died. As part of this, a named person is awarded the legal authority to deal with the assets, also known as the Grant of Probate. The process often takes several months, so a contest time limit based on probate gives you a lot longer to lodge a claim than a time limit based on the date of death.

How long does it take to contest a will?

The time required to contest a will depends on the type of claim you are making as well as the complexity of the case. Clerical errors are usually quick to resolve. These can usually be identified easily and are not difficult to prove. Other claims are usually less straightforward.

Factors which can influence how long it takes to contest a will:

  • Before or after Probate: if a will is contested after probate, this will usually be more challenging and can therefore take longer.
  • A court case: If the case needs to go to court the process will inevitably be more drawn-out. This is because it can take up to a year for a case to be heard in court.
    • Type of claim: Some issues, such as invalidity or fraud, can be difficult to investigate and prove, so contesting a will on this basis can be a lengthy process

    At Will Claim Solicitors we have extensive knowledge and experience in contesting wills.

    Our expert wills solicitors will be happy to advise you on all aspects of contesting wills. One of our team will talk you through the process of making a claim and the anticipated timescales based on the type and complexity of the case. If you need us to trace a will for you, we can assist with that, and we can investigate the validity of a will.

    If you wish to pursue a claim and need to know how long do you have to contest a will, contact us for your free claim assessment at