Steps to contesting a will
Disputes over a will are unfortunate circumstances, but they happen a lot. If you find yourself a party in that hot water, here are some of the most important steps you should take.
1. If you feel like you’ve been unfairly left out, consider your prospects of success
Keep in mind that what you’re asking for in here is a portion of the deceased’s estate you think should have been imparted to you. Because if it’s not, you have the burden to prove to the court why you should adequately be provided for from the estate. Fill up the Family Provision Application within six months of the date of death. This application serves as the notification to the executor that you have an intention to contest the will.
2. If you’re unsure of your eligibility to contest the will, remember that there are four overarching groups of people who can
These are the spouses, the de facto partners, the children (including stepchildren), and anyone who shared the home with the deceased. If you’re one of these people, and the proper provision was not made for you in the will, you can contest the will. If you are one of these people, and the will contains an error, which only the court can rectify, you can contest the will.
You can also dispute if the deceased made a specific promise before death, but the promise wasn’t included in the distribution of the estate. You can also contest the will if you believe that the deceased was under the undue influence while making the will.
3. If you’ve been financially dependent on the deceased, you’re entitled to several death benefits
If you’ve been financially dependent on the deceased but was cut off on the will, you may seek to avail of the dead person’s superannuation death benefits. This is payable to anyone dependent on the deceased before his or her death.
4. If the deceased person was your parent and you’ve been estranged for years, the court guarantees higher claims against your well-off siblings, especially if you’re financially worse off
The court carefully considers all the merits inside a will dispute. If you’ve been estranged from the deceased for years, and you’re left out from the will, you have a stronger financial claim against your other siblings who are financially well off than you are.
5. If you’re a de facto partner of the deceased, you can make a claim to the will but only after court considerations
The court will consider the nature of your shared residence with the deceased person. They will also discuss the length of your relationship, as well as whether or not it was sexual. They will also consider the fact of your financial dependence or interdependence to the deceased person. Other than that, they will also look into the number of properties you owned together. The court is extensive with this. They will even ask some familiar friends whether or not you and the deceased person go out and introduce yourselves as a couple.
These and more are the things you can consider when challenging a will or making a claim on the deceased’s will. You can make a claim on your own, or you can do so with the help of a family lawyer by your side. After all, the chances of success multiply with the help of a legal professional in your team.
If you need legal assistance in claiming a will, get in touch with our lawyers in Balmain today. We’re happy to help.