Will Dispute Lawyers Adelaide
Who can contest a Will in South Australia?
Choosing to contest an estate can be a difficult decision to make. Regardless of your circumstances, everyone deserves to receive their fair share of an inheritance claim.
When people are estate planning and creating their Wills, they are entitled to decide who receives their assets upon their death. However, Australia has laws to protect eligible people who received unfair inheritance claims or been left nothing in a Will.
According to the law you are considered an eligible person if you are one of the following people:
- Current and previous spouses
- Current de facto partners
- Anyone who is dependent on the deceased
Basis for contested wills?
There are two foundations upon which contested estates claims can occur.
- you can challenge the validity of the Will;
- you can contest the amount of money you have been left in a Will
Challenging the validity of a Will
If there is doubt as to whether or not a Will is valid it can be challenged. There are a few factors such as undue influence, to be considered when it comes to Will validity.
If in a previous Will you were listed as one of the beneficiaries, but in the present iteration of the Will you are no longer listed as a beneficiary you may be able to challenge the Will.
If the Will maker no longer had testamentary capacity when they wrote their Will you can dispute its validity. It’s very important that a Will maker has mental capacity and is of sound mind when they create their Will, to ensure they are not unduly influenced by others.
If a Will maker was pressured into making a Will by an external party who held a financial position or undue influence over them you can challenge the validity of the Will.
Contesting the money granted in a Will
Family members of the deceased person are able to make a claim against the beneficiaries of a Will if they believe they have not been left enough money or adequate provision in a Will.
If one or more beneficiaries of a contested estate believe the executor has not completed the requirements of their role properly, such as applying for a Grant of probate in a timely manner.
What if the deceased person did not have a Will?
In cases where a deceased person did not leave a Will behind, the laws of intestacy will dictate how a Will is distributed. An eligible family member is still able to proceed with a claim against the deceased’s estate when this occurs.
However inheritance claims and contested wills become more complicated in these circumstances so you should seek legal advice from a qualified wills and estates lawyer before you proceed to make a claim.
Family Provision claims
In some situations when you have been unfairly left out of a Will, or have received inadequate provision, you can make a family provision claim on the deceased estate to receive your fair of the estate.
In order to do so, you must be an eligible person in accordance with Section 41 of the Succession Act (South Australia). People eligible include:
- The spouse of the deceased, including de facto partners
- A child of the deceased, including biological children, adopted children and step children
- Dependants who were maintained/supported by the deceased person
- A family member who was partly or wholly dependant on the deceased at the time of their death.
What is the time limit to contest a Will?
In South Australian a person making a claim to contest a Will has six months from the deceased person’s date of death to inform the executor of the deceased estate.
To contest a Will with a family provision claim for further provision, notice must be given to the executor within six months of the date of death of the deceased person.
To challenge a Will’s validity you have to make an application before a Grant of Probate has been granted by the supreme court. Or if a Grant of Probate has not yet been applied for, within six months of the death of the deceased person.
In order to be able to meet the time limit it is important to seek legal advice from a lawyer as early as possible to ensure you are able to make a claim on the estate.
How long does a contested estate take to resolve?
The bulk of Will disputes are settled within six to eighteen months. If court proceedings are required it will likely take another six to twelve months to resolve.
Will my claim go to court?
It is very unlikely that your Will dispute will proceed to court as 98% of the Will disputes that our estate lawyers manage are resolved prior to court action being required.
However, if your claim does require court proceedings, our lawyers are able to take your matter all the way.
Turner Freeman Lawyers legal fees
Our Adelaide Will dispute lawyers are able to offer No Win No Fee to most Will disputes.
This means that if we act for you in your matter, you only have to pay our legal costs if we Win your matter. If we are unsuccessful you do not have to pay any fees for our legal services.
Meet our team
Why should I work with Turner Freeman Lawyers?
Disputed Wills and inheritance claims are complex matters so it is in your best interests to work with a law firm that have lots of experience working with Wills and estate law. Turner Freeman Lawyers have been practising estates law for over 70 years so you can rest assured that no matter the circumstances our estates team has the experience you need to get you the best outcome possible for your claim.
Whether you are looking for practical advice on estate planning, probate, or guardianship, or wish to make a claim against a deceased’s estate, our Wills estates lawyers are able to help.