If you want to contest a will, there are a few things you should know. Keep reading to find out.
Someone must have died. To some this might seem obvious, but to others it might not. If you wish to make a claim on an estate, there must be someone who has died in order to do this.
- There must be an estate. In other words, there must be assets remaining after all the debts are paid. If there is no estate there is nothing to make a claim on. We can assist you to determine what exactly the estate comprises.
- You must be an eligible person. You cannot make a claim on an estate unless you are an eligible person. Legislation sets out who are eligible persons. If you are not sure whether you are an eligible person, you should contact us to find out.
- Do not delay! Time is of the essence. There are strict time limits as to when you can make a claim and when an executor can distribute the estate. If you want to contest a will you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible. If you leave it too long then you risk the estate having been distributed and there being nothing to claim on.
- Start thinking about and locating documents that might strengthen your claim. Your lawyer will discuss this in detail with you, but some of the information you will need to provide includes details of your financial position (ie. assets, liabilities and income), health, relationship with the deceased, current and future needs, and contributions to the deceased’s estate.
Did you know?
- There does not have to be a will. The deceased person does not need to have left a will for you to make a claim on their estate. Instead of contesting a will, you are, in effect, contesting the laws of intestacy. These are the laws that exist when there is not a valid will. If the laws of intestacy say that you are entitled to an amount that you consider inadequate, then you can still challenge this and make a claim on the deceased’s estate.
- Most claims settle out of Court. People will often contest a will without ever needing to go to Court, or if it does go to Court, without having a trial. Your lawyer will attempt to negotiate the matter and try to come to an outcome that you are satisfied with, that the other party or parties agree with and that is the most economical and advantageous outcome for you.
- Turner Freeman Lawyers offer free case assessments and can offer to act for you on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis if they believe you have a reasonable chance of success. This means that if we believe you have a good chance of successfully contesting the will and you instruct us to act for you, then we will not charge you for our costs unless we achieve success for you.
Contesting a will can be confronting and challenging. We understand this. We are here to help you. Contact us on 8213 1000 for your first free, no-obligation appointment.