Contesting a Will legal terms: What do they mean?

Published 04 Sep 2018

When contesting a Will, there are many legal terms that you may not be familiar with, and it can be overwhelming. Understanding the basic terms will allow you to better navigate the legal system, discuss issues with your lawyer and make necessary claims.

Here is a brief look at some of the most common legal terms concerning Wills.

Common legal terms: Contesting a Will

Burden of proof: The responsibility to prove a claim that is made or alleged by the plaintiff, or prosecution, in court.

Defendant: A person who has had legal proceedings brought against them or has been charged with a criminal offence. Also known as a 'respondent'.

Disbursement: When money is distributed on behalf of someone else or to comply with the deceased's wishes in a Will.

Beneficiary: Someone who has been left assets or property in a Will or trust.

Executor: A person appointed to ensure provisions in a Will are put into effect.

Family provision claim: An application made to the court requesting a share of an estate, or a larger share of an estate, if a person is left out of a Will or feels they did not get what they deserved.

Intestacy: When a person dies without a Will in place, they are considered to have died intestate. The estate would then need to be divided according to the necessary law.

Plaintiff: Someone who initiates proceedings against another individual or an organisation. Also referred to as an 'applicant' or 'complainant'.

Probate: Registering and proving a deceased person's Will with the Supreme Court of the applicable state.

Testamentary capacity: Used to determine whether or not a person has the mental capacity to understand property rights and responsibilities, and the legal or mental ability to create or alter a valid Will.

Testator: A person who creates a Will or has died leaving a valid Will.

Trust: An account holding assets or property for beneficiaries that is managed by a trustee and follows terms set out in a Will.

Valid: When a document, such as a Will, is considered legally binding or effective.

Get in touch with us today

If you have further questions about legal terms, or if you'd like to contest a Will, contact us at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers today for more information. Our experienced team of lawyers can help you determine your eligibility to file a claim or understand your rights.

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