You feel you’ve been treated unfairly in a will – what next?

Published 26 Nov 2013

A person’s last will is often believed to be the final say in how his or her estate is divided up, which leads many to think that what’s stated in a will can’t be challenged.

However, there are rules in place in New South Wales that allow people to contest a will if they believe they were unfairly treated in the document.

This most often occurs when someone feels they weren’t left the proper share of the estate that would have reflected the nature of their relationship to the deceased.

However, it’s also possible to claim that the person who wrote the will did not have the mental capacity to draft such an important document, which would have been the reason you were either left out or did not receive the share to which you thought you were entitled.

If you believe either of these situations apply to you, you may want to speak to experts in contesting wills cases, as these legal battles can quickly become very complicated and involve several people. The court will do this to determine the validity of your claim, speaking to people who knew both you and the deceased.

Learning from experience

However, contesting wills lawyers with years of experience in dealing with these matters have learned what it takes to lodge a successful claim.

Family provision claims are one of the most common inheritance disputes, and finding a legal team that has successfully challenged wills in the past will be critical for resolving these issues. Before ever filing such a complaint, though, it’s important for experts to answer a few questions.

First, you’ll need to know if you’re eligible to make a claim. You’ll also need to have an idea of the monetary amount your claim will be for. If you plan to file the claim more than 12 months after the death of the person who left the will, it will be important to understand how to overcome the time limits that are placed on filing such claims.

Speaking with a legal professional will also give you an idea of the possibilities of settlement of the claim without proceeding to court hearings that can send legal costs even higher.

If you believe you have been treated unfairly in a will, remember – you have options.

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