Why contest a loved one’s Will?

Published 19 Jul 2013

It’s not nice to imagine having to dispute a person’s Will, yet it is important to be aware of your rights should this come to pass one day in the future.

Inheritance Disputes can range from contesting the validity of a Will to seeking further provision from a loved one’s Estate.

Here are some examples of scenarios in which you may choose to take action regarding someone’s Will.

You are left out of the Will

If you feel you have been unfairly left out of a loved one’s Will, you may be able to take action in order to seek what you believe is your share of their Estate.

Eligible persons who have not received ‘adequate provision’ in the distribution of a loved one’s Estate can make Family Provision Claims.

Regardless of your sense of injustice, whether or not you can make such a claim will depend on your relationship to the deceased.

The Succession Act 2006 specifies that the following people are eligible to make a Family Provision Claim:

– The husband or wife of the deceased
– The defacto spouse
– Any child or adopted child
– Any former husband or wife
– Any grandchild who was part of the deceased’s household or at least partly dependent on the deceased
– Anyone who was living in a close personal relationship with the deceased at the time of their death

You are mentioned in the Will

Even if you are mentioned in the Will of a loved one, you may be unhappy with the level of your inheritance. In this case you may be eligible to seek further provision from their Estate.

You may also disagree with how the Executor of the Estate carries out the instructions in the Will.

This can happen when there are ambiguous words or phrases in the document which are read one way by the Executor, and another way by others.

You don’t believe the Will is genuine

In some circumstances, you may have reason to believe that the Will of a loved one does not represent their true wishes.

This could be because they lacked the capacity to understand the consequences of the document when they had it drawn up. If this is the case, it is possible to contest the Will because the deceased lacked ‘testamentary capacity’ when it was made.

Whatever the issue – seek help

If you ever find yourself in a position where you think you need to take legal action over the Will of a loved one, be sure to get expert advice from specialist Contesting Wills lawyers.

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