A Will is one of the most significant documents a person will ever sign, and will have the largest impact on a person’s property. Wills specify how assets should be managed after death. People widely believe that in a Will they can transfer all their assets to whoever they wish, however, the freedom of disposition is only partly true.
In certain situations, family members of the deceased or other eligible persons are entitled to make a claim against an estate, even when there is a Will, and may dispute a Will if provisions in the Will are inadequate.
In these circumstances, the Court can make orders in regards to the distribution of the deceased assets in favour of those eligible persons.
There are only a number of legal avenues to dispute a Will, however people who are eligible to make a claim against the estate and the grounds of such claim can vary.
The law in New South Wales allows a Will or estate to be contested or challenged under certain circumstances which include the below.
Family Provisions Claims
Family members or eligible persons are entitled to make a claim against an estate in situations where the provisions of the Will, or the statutory provisions when a person dies without a will (dies intestate) are inadequate or the person has been left out of the Will.
Beneficiaries can challenge or dispute a Will in situations where the testator or the Will maker was not in a sound state of mind when the Will was prepared.
This is due to the legal requirement that to be a valid Will, the Will maker needed to have had mental capacity when they signed it.
Undue Influence Or Fraud
A beneficiary can challenge or dispute a Will if such person can prove that the testator or the Will maker was unduly influenced by one or more of the other beneficiaries of the Will, or if the Will was a product of Fraud.
The law allows a will to be challenged if it can be proven the Will maker was coerced to the point of making the resulting Will in contradiction of their true intentions, or if it can be proven they were tricked into signing it.
If you would like to discuss your Will, Probate, Estate Planning or Contested Estate with one of our solicitors, please do not hesitate to contact our office on 1800 600 664, or send a message by completing the contact form.