Contesting a Will

Contesting a Will In Ireland can be stressful, talk to our expert team today. Our Contentious Probate Solicitors Letterkenny & Dublin provide you the best legal representation to contest a will in Ireland and deliver the best possible outcome on your behalf.

When it comes to legal support, trust is everything. Gibson & Associates LLP understands that when you’re seeking contentious probate services for contesting a will, you need someone you can trust and rely on from start to finish. We are a Law Firm you can trust.

Contesting a will in Ireland

This process is also known as “Challenging a Will”, “Contesting a Will” or “Disputing a Will”. Family members or other people who can be legally entitled to the inheritance, or believe they deserve to be part of the will and were wronged can contest the will in Ireland.

If they believe they have not received a fair share of the inheritance or if they are not mentioned in the document. There are a number of reasons on which a will can be challenged, our solicitors at Gibson and Associates can help provide you with legal advice for your best possible outcome.

You should get advice immediately if you are looking to contest a will, as there are strict timeframes that need to be complied with depending on your case.

The main reasons for contesting a will are:

  • Undue Influence
  • Validity of the will
  • Construction of the will
  • Lack of testamentary capacity
  • The will does not provide for a spouse or children in accordance with the Succession Act 1965

Undue Influence

A claim of undue influence is made where there is a belief that someone was under the influence or coerced into making a will without their wish to do so and benefited themselves.

Positive evidence must be presented by the claimant proving that the testator was coerced by a particular person, and thus there is a high burden on the claimant to provide the court with enough proof.

Lack of testamentary capacity

A will can be contested by claims that at the time testator did not have the capacity to make the will and had no idea what they were doing.

The test that is carried out by the court to check the testamentary capacity:

  1. Comprehend and appreciate the claims he or she is putting into effect
  2. Having a full understanding of the act and its effect
  3. The nature and understanding of the property the testator will be disposing

Therefore, a claimant must show that the testator did not understand what he or she was signing in order to successfully challenge a will due to lack of capacity.

Wills legislation in Ireland

A will can be contested in Ireland only after the date of death of the testator. There are several legal legislations involved to contest the validity of the will. The Succession Act 1965 contains legal grounds for contesting a will.

If the testator comprises of the following three conditions, they will be deemed valid:

  • The age of the testator is above 18 years
  • The testator has the full mental capacity
  • The testator has not been forced by any third party or influenced to write a will against his/her wishes
  • If no provision was made for the testator’s children (referred to as a section 117 application)

Our team of solicitors at Gibson and Associates can help those interested to draw up a will in Ireland that complies with the above-mentioned requirements.

Contentious Probate

Contentious probate refers to any dispute about the way a person’s estate is administered after they have passed away. Moreover, Will disputes fall under this category – that is if you wanted to challenge someone’s Will that would legally be termed contentious probate.

Due to the significant rise in house prices, contentious disputes relating to Wills and Probate have increased in recent years. As a moral duty, many individuals are leaving behind estates in their will that is of significant value and administering the estate. Moreover, due to the increased prevalence of dementia that affects mental capacity and soundness of mind, Wills are being deemed invalid. On the grounds of diminished testamentary capacity or undue influence in some cases.

Grounds on which a will can be contested in Ireland

If in a situation a person feels that he/she should contest the will, then proper measures must be taken and performed in accordance with the above-mentioned rules and guidelines. Thus, a will can be contested if the age of the testator is below the requirement or he/she is not at full mental capacity.

Below, our solicitors, list the grounds on which a contentious will in Ireland can be contested:


  1. In the event that the will is not properly drafted, it may be contested on the grounds of invalidity (for example, if the testator does not sign the will in the presence of two independent witnesses).
  2. Proper Financial Provision: The testator does not leave his assets in the proper amount as stipulated in the estate law.
  3. Undue Influence: When a testator names a beneficiary in a will, under an influence.
  4. Prior agreements: When the prior agreement is not acknowledged in the will; in this case, contesting the will may lead the High Court to decide whether the prior arrangement will be enforced, either completely or partially.

Time Limits For Contesting a Will in Ireland

Succession Act 1965 sets out certain time limits for contentious probate, for contesting a will in Ireland. The time limits for interested parties for various categories vary case to a case basis.


  • 6 Years: The surviving spouse claiming a legal share of the asset of his/her partner from the date of death
  • 6 Months: For children claiming proper financial provision after the Grant of Probate is issued
  • 2 Years: From the date of death for proprietary estoppel claims, those that concern a prior arrangement that has not been fulfilled in the will
  • Others: Other time limits may apply depending on the nature of the case; this is why it is advisable to seek legal advice as soon as possible.

Litigation Services FAQs

How to make a will in Ireland.

If a Will does not comply by Irish Laws it can be challenged. For a will to be valid, it must be in writing, it must be signed in the presence of two witnesses and the two witnesses must sign in the presence of the testator. How ever on more information on ‘How to Make a Will?’ visit the Irish Citizens Information page or consult one of our expert solicitors at your earliest.

How to contest a will?

If you wish to contest a Will in Ireland, you need to begin legal proceedings in the High Court. First, however, you must be certain that you have sufficient grounds to challenge a Will.

Can you contest a will if you are not in it?

Usually a claim is made by aggrieved family members who were excluded from a will, but any person who claims to have an interest in an estate can contest a will. However some claims such as a claim for estoppel, where a person relied on a promise by the testator that was not fulfilled can make a claim.

Can a will be contested?

A will can be contested on various grounds as mentioned above in the section, including that the testator was undue influence of another person at the time the will was made, challenging the validity of the will and also claiming that the testator did not have capacity to make a will.

Please Note: A claim can also be made by a child, spouse or co-habitant if proper provision has not been made for the

When can you contest a will?

A will can only be contested after the death of a testator as it does not come into effect before that, the Grant of Probate or Grant of Administration must be extracted for some reliefs before the commencement of the action. As the time limit for contesting a will varies case to case basis, it is advisable to seek out legal advice at your earliest.

How much does it cost to contest a will?

The legal fees for contesting a will varies from case to case basis, depending on the complexity of the estate followed by the length of court hearing etc. In order to get an estimate on the legal costs, reach out to a solicitor for advice on your case.

What chances are there for successfully contesting a will?

The chances of success for each case varies based on the complexity and will be determined based on specific facts related to the case.

In addition, once you provide our solicitors with details of your case they will be in a position to give legal advice on your case’s merits.

Our litigation team is here to help you no matter where in Ireland you’re based.

With offices in Dublin and Letterkenny, and associates around the country, we’re perfectly positioned to help you whether you live in Dublin, Galway, Cork or Donegal or anywhere in between.

Daireann Gibson

Amanda Walsh

Niall McMonagle

Sinead Shaw

Jessica McGrath

What our clients say