As a beneficiary of a will, you are likely to have gone through a loss that has taken its toll on your emotions. When a will is contested, it can make an already devastating situation even more upsetting and confusing.
Contesting or Disputing a will is when everyone involved agrees that the Will is valid, but one or more allege that they have been left without fair provision of an inheritance – sometimes being left out entirely. The Australian noted that inheritance disputes in NSW have increased by over 50% in the last 10 years.
Family Provisions Claims
When a family member disputes a will, claiming the will is inadequate or they have been wrongly left out of any inheritance, it will result in a Family Provision Claim. This avenue of dispute can also apply to statutory provisions when a person dies without a will (or dies interstate).
Are you the beneficiary to a will that is being contested?
Legally, the will’s executor must tell you about any contesting or disputing of the will that will affect your entitlement. In NSW the eligible person must contest the will within 12 months from the date of death, however, there are cases that have been accepted after a number of years.
If you are beneficiary of a will being contested, you may wish to participate in the compulsory mediation before any hearing. It is important to understand where the eligible person’s dispute comes from so that negotiation can be entered with an open mind. The cost of a successful application is usually taken out of the deceased’s estate, so if there is a chance the person disputing the will may win a portion, it may be beneficial to settle out of court through mediation.
If the matter does go to court, what is considered is the eligible person’s maintenance, education or advancement in life can properly be sufficiently provided for.
The Court will also consider the following:
- The age, financial circumstances, and any disability (physical or mental) of the people involved in the will
- The contributions made by the eligible person to the deceased’s property or welfare
- The deceased’s estate
- The eligible person’s character and conduct both before and after the death
Disputed will and false allegations disproved and discredited
A disputed will occurred after our client, an only child, was the sole beneficiary to his mother’s estate. A relative released from jail had constantly begged our client’s mother for money after several years of her death made a claim against the estate, disputing the will as unjust and making many false allegations. Through a forensic methodical approach, we were able to completely disprove and discredit the claim.
Do you need to dispute a will?
Sometimes the situation is flipped and a family member has been left out of the will or given a small amount compared to others, which can be truly unjust. If you believe you may be entitled and you need a helping hand getting the inheritance you deserve, we can help.
Success for devastated son wrongfully cut out of father’s will
Despite our client trying his hardest to save the family company, it was sold and our client didn’t receive a penny, leading to a family dispute. When his father passed away, our client was cut out of the will – everything was left to our client’s two siblings. We launched a family provision claim in The Supreme Court, and after mediation, secured a fair financial settlement for our client.
How Taylor and Scott Lawyers can help
If you need to defend a will that is being contested, you may not want to delay seeking advice from a lawyer who knows the complex wills and estates law inside out.
For more information on wills and estates, please call 1800 600 664, or click here to fill in our contact form.
At Taylor & Scott, We Care For You.