Common reasons to contest a will

Published 24 Jun 2014

There are a number of reasons why you may choose to contest a will, either for your own gain or to support others. While some people assume inheritance disputes are based solely on financial benefits, many contesting wills cases are instead influenced by a desire to see moral obligations fulfilled or to protect the wishes of the deceased.

Understanding the factors that lead individuals to contest a will is an important step towards recognising your own eligibility to make a claim. As many people are unaware of the different reasons they can use to present a contesting wills case, a significant number of unfair wills could be passing by unopposed.

To ensure you don’t miss you chance to challenge the legitimacy and fairness of a will, here are the three most common reasons Australians will contact contesting wills lawyers.

The deceased did not have capacity to make a valid will

In some cases, the circumstances under which a will was drafted become the main focus of inheritance disputes. If friends or family members believe the deceased was being unfairly influenced or did not hold the mental capacity to understand the impact of their decisions, a will can be declared invalid.

This form of contesting wills claim is generally lodged in an effort to protect the true wishes of the deceased, by instead following a will that was created earlier in their life.

The will makes little or no provision for certain family members

If certain family members or dependents are left out of a will, these eligible persons can make family provision claims on the deceased’s estate.

Through this process, the Supreme Court investigates the will holder’s moral obligation to financially provide for the plaintiff. This ensures that anyone who lodged a family provision claim is awarded only what the Court decides is fair, based on their relationships with the deceased and current financial situation.

The will is old and does not reflect recent changes to family dynamic

Often a will is created once an individual reaches a certain age, and then left untouched for many years until their death. Unfortunately, this can lead to unfair or unintentional bequeathments being awarded as recent changes to family dynamics are not supported.

An outdated will could mean estranged children still receive large portions of the estate, or young grandchildren are left out of the will completely.

In each of these cases, it is important for the individual or representative to contact a contesting wills lawyer to find out more about their eligibility and options to dispute the estate.

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