4 important questions about contesting wills

Published 13 Jun 2014

If you believe you have been unfairly treated during someone’s estate planning, and you are considering contesting a will, you may have a few questions about the process.

There are many potential variables which are worth considering when making an inheritance dispute, so it is important to access any help you might need. In particular, a contesting wills lawyer can offer advice, support and guidance throughout the process, while answering any questions you may have.

If you’re unsure about contacting a solicitor at this point, here is a brief insight into the will contesting process and the kind of questions these lawyers can help you with.

Is there a time limit for contesting a will?

While the inheritance dispute laws are different depending on the state in which you make your claim, in NSW a contesting wills application must be lodged within 12 months of the death. It is possible to have this time extended, under certain circumstances, but this requires express permission from the Courts.

What if I live in a different state to the deceased?

When contesting a will, it is important that you approach the right authorities to make your application. In Australia, the law requires inheritance disputes to be lodged in the state in which the deceased left property.

This means that if you live in Victoria and your parent passed away leaving a home in NSW, you would need to go through the NSW Supreme Court.

Do I have to go to court?

It is not always necessary for an inheritance dispute to go to court. Often, it is possible to settle matters via pre-issue negotiations with the estate executor and other beneficiaries.

Unfortunately, if a resolution cannot be reached it will be necessary to take the matter to the Court. This process will generally involve official mediation before being listed for trial, giving family members as many chances as possible to reach an amicable settlement.

How much will I receive?

How much you are awarded from the estate depends on a large number of factors, such as your eligibility and financial standing. It is therefore difficult to estimate how much you will receive before speaking with a contesting wills lawyer.

If you are considering lodging an inheritance dispute, get in touch with the team at Gerard Malouf and Partners today for more information about your case and eligibility.

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