A few facts about contesting wills

Published 20 Feb 2014

If you’re thinking about contesting a will, here are a few facts you may want to keep in mind.

– A person can leave some or all of their assets to anyone they choose in their will – even their pets. However, friends or relatives who feel they should have been better provided for by the deceased may be entitled to contest their will.

– The Succession Act 2006 states the people who are eligible to contest a will include the deceased’s wife and children. The Law Society of New South Wales reveals this includes both adopted and natural-born children.

– There are a few people who are able to contest a will that might come as a surprise. For instance, the Succession Act 2006 lists former husbands and wives, grandchildren who were at one time or another dependents of the deceased, and de facto partners (both opposite and same sex) as eligible when it comes to contesting wills.

– All family provision orders must be made within 12 months of the will-makers death, or they will be considered null and void.

– The latest valid will a person creates overrides any previous wills they may have drafted.

– There are myriad grounds on which you may contest a will, in addition to not being adequately provided for. These include testamentary capacity (i.e. whether or not the deceased was of sound mind when they created their will), the will not being properly signed or witnessed, the will being fraudulent and more.

– How close a person was to the deceased could be a deciding factor in whether contesting wills case is successful or not. A good example of this is a recent case heard by the New South Wales Supreme Court. A man argued his step-mother was left too great a share of his father’s estate in his will, and asked for his wishes to be overruled. The court ruled that the man’s relationship with his father was “close and loving” throughout his life and decided in his favour.

– Other factors that may come into play during a contesting wills case include the nature and extent of the deceased’s estate, as well as the financial situation of the person disputing their will.

For more information about the estate disputes process, get in touch with the team of contesting wills lawyers at Gerard Malouf Partners today.

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