Should I contest a Will when the estate is small

Published 29 Jan 2019

Author: Richele Nelsen

There are certain considerations to remember if you’re thinking about contesting a Will that represents a smaller estate. These include ensuring the expenses don’t outweigh the estate, including more than just financial costs.

Making a family provision claim can be a complicated, lengthy process, especially if other family members are involved, so be sure you consider all options before moving forward.

Do the legal costs outweigh the benefits?

Legal costs are taken out of the estate during the intestate court process. Keep this in mind if you’re considering contesting a Will – the estimated worth of an estate may not be the final amount that the beneficiaries will be left with.

Thus, be very careful that the cost of contesting a Will doesn’t outweigh what would be leftover in the estate, or your portion if you were to win benefits. Also consider the stress and personal costs of making the claim for a smaller estate.

While it can vary significantly, an estate is considered small if it’s under or around $250,000 to $500,000, for instance.

A University of New South Wales study of family provision estate cases in New South Wales and Victoria found that many resulted in costs of more than 25 per cent of the estate value.

What steps should I take if I’m still unsure?

There are several factors to consider before making a decision. These include:

  • How many other interested family members are there?
  • What is the value of the portion of the estate you’re making a claim to?
  • What is the estimated estate value comprised of (property, accounts, cash, etc.)?

Most importantly, discuss your options with a legal professional. Often, lawyers in Australia will offer a no win, no fee set up, where you won’t have to pay a fee unless a favourable outcome is secured. Many practices also offer free consultations, and so they may be able to advise you right away if they think the estate is too small for you to submit a family provision claim.

If you need additional assistance and guidance with these matters, our attorneys can help. We offer free consultations and can assist you with Will disputes on a no win, no fee basis. Contact our team today at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers to learn about all the legal services we provide.

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