The challenges to successful contesting wills cases

Published 28 Jul 2014

When you make the decision to contest a will, it is important that you consider the challenges you may face when bringing your case to court.

Even when considered an eligible person under the laws of succession, individuals laying family provision claims are not guaranteed success. This is why it is vital to engage the services of a contesting wills lawyer, who can support your case and give you the best chance at success.

The Supreme Court of New South Wales takes a number of factors into consideration when deciding the fate of an inheritance dispute. This includes the size of the estate, the plaintiff’s relationship with the deceased and the moral obligation to care for the individual.

To demonstrate how these conditions can influence the outcome of a contesting wills case, here are two recent examples overseen by the Supreme Court.

Estranged son fights for his mother’s estate

When a NSW woman died in 2011, she left the majority of her $1.2 million estate to two of her three children. Her remaining son was offered nothing from the will, while his child – the deceased’s grandson – was gifted $100,000.

The son then lodged a family provision claim in order to receive his fair share of the estate. However, the Court discovered that the plaintiff and his mother had a significant falling out. Having not spoken with his mother since 1993, the only contact he had with the deceased was in 2009, when he began making inquiries about his inheritance.

This led to the Courts deciding that the deceased had no moral obligation to provide for her son, as he had readily ended the relationship between them years prior to her death.

Friend seeks the clearing of debt from estate

Another case saw an individual seeking the balance of a debt owed to him from a friend’s estate. The deceased had borrowed $300,000 from the plaintiff in 2008 and allegedly failed to repay the debt by the time of his death in 2012.

The Plaintiff then lodged a claim on the estate in order to recover his money. While in some cases this kind of claim may find success with the right counsel, the Courts decided that an inheritance dispute was the wrong method to approach the claim.

In particular, as the estate Trustee had no moral obligation to the plaintiff’s debt, they should not be held accountable for the payment. Because of this, the plaintiff was recommended to seek other channels to recover his money, and the contesting wills case was dismissed.

If you’ve been considering an inheritance dispute, contact a contesting wills lawyer for more information and advice.

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