Contesting A Will After Probate

The process of contesting a will can be intricate and emotionally charged, more so when it’s done after probate has been granted. This guide delves into the nuances, challenges, and procedures related to contesting a will post-probate.

Understanding Probate and its Significance

Probate is the legal process by which a will is recognized and the executor is given the legal authority to administer the deceased’s estate. Once probate is granted, the will is deemed valid and its instructions can be carried out.

Reasons to Contest a Will Post-Probate

  • New Information or Evidence: Fresh evidence might surface indicating that the will does not genuinely reflect the wishes of the deceased or was crafted under undue influence.
  • Testamentary Capacity: Concerns may arise post-probate about the mental capacity of the deceased when the will was made.
  • Improper Procedure: It might be discovered that the will was not properly executed or witnessed as per legal requirements.
  • Ambiguities in the Will: Inconsistencies or unclear provisions that come to light only after probate can lead to contestation.

Legal Implications of Contesting After Probate

Contesting a will after probate is typically more complex, given that the will has already been validated by the court. The onus of proof lies heavily on the person contesting, demanding compelling evidence to overturn the probated will.

Steps to Contest a Will After Probate

  • Seek Legal Advice: Engaging a solicitor with expertise in will disputes is critical given the intricacies involved.
  • Gather Evidence: Collect all relevant documentation and evidence that support your claim against the probated will.
  • File a Caveat: This legal notice prevents any further actions with the estate while the contestation is pending.
  • Engage in Mediation: Before court proceedings, parties often attempt to resolve the matter through mediation.
  • Court Proceedings: If no resolution is achieved, the matter might progress to a court hearing.

Potential Outcomes of Contestation

  • Upheld Will: The court may determine that the probated will remains valid and should be executed as is.
  • Revised Estate Distribution: The court could order alterations in the way the estate assets are distributed.
  • Substitution with an Earlier Will: If the contested will is invalidated, a previous will might be upheld as the valid testament.

FAQs on Contesting a Will After Probate

Is there a specific time frame for contesting a will post-probate?

The time limit varies based on jurisdiction, but generally, there’s a limited window after probate during which the will can be contested.

What costs are associated with contesting a will after probate?

Costs can include legal fees, court fees, and potential costs awarded to the other party if the contestation is unsuccessful.

How long does the process typically take?

The duration can vary based on the complexities involved, from several months to a few years, especially if it reaches court proceedings.

What if assets have already been distributed?

Recovery can be challenging if assets have been distributed. However, legal actions might be taken against beneficiaries who’ve received their share.

Can an executor contest a will after probate?

Generally, executors uphold the will’s instructions. However, if they have reasons to believe the will doesn’t reflect the true wishes of the deceased, they might be able to contest.


Contesting a will after probate requires careful consideration and strong legal grounding. It’s crucial to understand the implications, potential outcomes, and be equipped with compelling evidence. Whether driven by concerns of fairness or the discovery of new information, it’s a path best navigated with experienced legal counsel.