Apply to challenge a will

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It’s free to make an application to challenge a will. There are 2 ways you can do this.

Apply when you don’t think a close family member(s) was properly provided for from a deceased person’s estate

An application under the Family Protection Act 1955 can be made by:

  • the wife, husband or civil union partner of the person who has died
  • a de facto partner who was living in a de facto relationship with the person at the time of their death
  • the children of the person who died
  • any grandchildren who were alive when the person died
  • any stepchildren who the deceased was providing for when they died
  • the parents of the person who died if that person was providing for them just before death or if the deceased has no living wife, husband, civil union partner, de facto partner or children.

An application must be made within 12 months (or 2 years in the case of an administrator applying on behalf of a minor or a mentally handicapped person) of the grant of New Zealand probate.

Apply when you haven’t received what you were promised

An application under the Law Reform (Testamentary Promises) Act must be made within 12 months of the grant of administration.

Deadlines to apply to challenge a will

You can ask for more time to make your application but you must do this before the final distribution of the estate. (This refers to when the executors follow the intentions of the person who died as expressed in the will.) There's no guarantee more time will be given.

Forms to challenge a will

The interlocutory application for directions as to serve, and if required orders for representation, must be accompanied by information in support, either in affidavit form or by some other means.

You may want to get legal advice to help you. You may be eligible to apply for legal aid.

Legal aid

Whichever Act you apply under, you’ll need to include these 3 forms:

Application for order (or declaration) on notice - G5 [PDF, 47 KB]

Information sheet to accompany applications - G7 [PDF, 44 KB]

Interlocutory application without notice- G21 [PDF, 44 KB]

Applications must be filed in the court nearest to where the applicant, or one of the applicants, lives.

Find out more about filing documents

Serve your application

When you file your documents at court, you should include 1 copy for the court and 1 copy for each person who needs to be served. The court will then complete the documents for service and prepare a notice that must also be served on each person who needs to be served. These documents will be given back to you so you can have them served.

Find out more about how to serve documents

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