Is there a time limit to pursue a Will validity claim?
There are different time limits for bringing different types of claim. This time limit is known as the ‘limitation period’. Claimants should always seek legal advice as to the limitation period that applies to their claim as missing the deadline can have serious consequences on their ability to pursue that claim.
There is no specific time limit within which to pursue a claim against the validity of a Will. However, it is advisable to take steps as soon as possible to stop an invalid Will from being admitted to probate and to protect the estate from being administered under the wrong Will. There are a number of steps that can be taken to protect an estate from being administered and distributed. For example, an estate can be protected in certain circumstances by entering a ‘caveat’ with the Probate Registry (for further details please see here). It may also be possible to contact financial institutions direct to prevent distributions from being made.
If a questionable Will has already been admitted to probate a claim can normally still be made. However, if the estate has already been distributed, it will be more difficult and more expensive to recover property or funds which would be the subject of the claim. In addition, if a claimant waits too long to pursue a claim, there is a risk that the court will find that it would be unfair to grant the relief sought in light of the passage of time and the impact this has had on the defendant’s position.
In summary, while there is no specified time limit to pursue a Will validity claim, it is advisable to obtain legal advice on timeframes as soon as possible to avoid the claimant losing the opportunity to protect their position, the opportunity to obtain a tactical advantage over the Defendant or, even, the ability to pursue the claim entirely.
If you have any questions on the content of this article please don’t hesitate to contact one of the team.