Published 14 Feb 2017
The passing of a parent is a traumatic experience that can only be made worse when there are inheritance disputes among loved ones in the weeks and months after the death.
Whether you're an only child or one of a number of siblings, it is likely you expected your mother or father to name you as a beneficiary to their estate. However, this is not always the case.
Let's take a look at some of the reasons why your parents may not have left you any of their assets, as well as what options are open to you, such as contesting a will.
1. You were estranged from your parent
Sadly, not everyone is close to their parents, so there is a chance you were estranged from them in the years leading up to their death. These types of family feud can cause mothers or fathers to leave their children out of the will.
Nevertheless, you may still be entitled to a percentage of their assets if you challenge the will. Your chances of success will depend on a number of factors, including the reason for the estrangement and who instigated the split.
2. There was no will
A 2015 study from the University of Queensland and numerous other academic institutions showed only 59 per cent of people have written a will. If no will can be found, intestacy rules often apply, which means the estate is distributed according to a formula.
Spouses are typically prioritised and they often receive the entire estate if there are no children or they are the parent of any children between them and the deceased. This could create problems if you are estranged from your surviving parent, for example, but contesting the will could lead to a decision in your favour.
3. The will is a forgery
If you had a close relationship with a parent and they fail to leave you anything in their will, you can be forgiven for suspecting that something suspicious has occurred.
A forged will is a possibility, although they are rare, which may lead you to pursue an inheritance dispute. The onus of proof is on the individual who is alleging fraud, however, so you'll need convincing evidence that the will isn't genuine.
These are just some of the reasons why a deceased parent might not bequeath any of their estate to their children. But if you'd like to learn more about will disputes, please contact Gerard Malouf & Partners Will Dispute Lawyers.