If you’ve been left out of a Will, or have been unfairly treated in terms of the amount of your inheritance you may be able to make a claim against the estate.
Who can dispute a Will?
It varies from state to state, but some of the people who may be entitled to claim include people who had a relationship with the deceased such as:
- wife or husband
- defacto or same sex partner
- former spouse or defacto partner
- child, stepchild or grandchild
- parent of a child of the deceased
- parent, brother or sister
- someone who was financially dependent on the deceased
- carer of the deceased
This is a very general guide only so please contact us to discuss your particular circumstances.
Is there a time limit?
Yes, there is. You have only 12 months from the date of their death to make a claim. In certain circumstances, we might be able to obtain an extension of the time limit so please contact us to discuss your situation.
What if I don’t believe the Will was valid?
You can challenge a Will if you believe that the will is a forgery or if the person lacked the mental capacity to make a Will. You can also challenge a Will if you believe that undue influence was brought to bear upon the deceased or if there was fraud involved.
How do I make a claim?
First, contact a lawyer, who can assess your claim and discuss the particular circumstances of your claim. If it’s worth continuing we will contact the executors and notify them of your claim. We will then gather evidence, prepare documents and make an offer to the executors. Many claims are settled through negotiation at this stage.
If the matter isn’t resolved then we can lodge documents with the court to initiate proceedings. We can still negotiate and in some cases mediation will be required by the court.
Failing all else, we will proceed to a court hearing wherein the evidence will be presented and the judge will make a decision.
We can help
At every stage of contesting or challenging a Will it’s important to have sound, experienced legal advice. Our will dispute lawyers have the skills to negotiate on your behalf to avoid costly court fees, but if it comes down to court we also have the skills to fight on your behalf.
We advise and attend to any litigation by or against estates including claims by people who believe they have been wrongly left out of a will or weren’t given enough in all the circumstances. Speak to Joanne Daniel.
Contact us to find out more or to arrange an appointment with a lawyer.