Family Provision Claims
Time limit for making a Family Provision Application
An application for a Family Provision order by an eligible person can be made at any time within 12 months after the date of death of the deceased person.
Making of a Family Provision Order
A Family Provision Order may be made if the Court is satisfied that the person seeking the order is an eligible person and has not received provision for the proper maintenance, education or advancement in life by the Will of the deceased or in the event that there is no Will, by the operation of the rules of intestacy in relation to the estate.
In respect of this category, the deceased may have left no Will, and there are rules whereby the deceased’s estate passes to beneficiaries in those circumstances but the Intestacy Rules deprive the person seeking the order of entitlement under the Will.
Below are a list of matters the Court considers in relation to a Family Provision application:
- Any family or other relationship between the applicant and the deceased person, including the nature and duration of the relationship
- The nature and extent of any obligations or responsibilities owed by the deceased person to the applicant, to any other person in respect of whom an application has been made for a family provision order or to any beneficiary of the deceased person’s estate
- The nature and extent of the deceased person’s estate (including any property that is, or could be, designated as notional estate of the deceased person) and of any liabilities or charges to which the estate is subject, as in existence when the application is being considered
- The financial resources (including earning capacity) and financial needs, both present and future, of the applicant, of any other person in respect of whom an application has been made for a family provision order or of any beneficiary of the deceased person’s estate
- If the applicant is cohabiting with another person-the financial circumstances of the other person
- Any physical, intellectual or mental disability of the applicant, any other person in respect of whom an application has been made for a family provision order or any beneficiary of the deceased person’s estate that is in existence when the application is being considered or that may reasonably be anticipated
- The age of the applicant when the application is being considered
- Any contribution (whether financial or otherwise) by the applicant to the acquisition, conservation and improvement of the estate of the deceased person or to the welfare of the deceased person or the deceased person’s family, whether made before or after the deceased person’s death, for which adequate consideration (not including any pension or other benefit) was not received, by the applicant
- Any provision made for the applicant by the deceased person, either during the deceased person’s lifetime or made from the deceased person’s estate
- Any evidence of the testamentary intentions of the deceased person, including evidence of statements made by the deceased person
- Whether the applicant was being maintained, either wholly or partly, by the deceased person before the deceased person’s death and, if the Court considers it relevant, the extent to which and the basis on which the deceased person did so
- Whether any other person is liable to support the applicant
- The character and conduct of the applicant before and after the date of the death of the deceased person
- The conduct of any other person before and after the date of the death of the deceased person
- Any relevant Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander customary law
- Any other matter the Court considers relevant, including matters in existence at the time of the deceased person’s death or at the time the application is being considered
The matters in (a) to (o) are not exhaustive, and item (p), which relates to “any other matter that the Court considers relevant”, gives the Court a wide discretion. This discretion includes matters that may have arisen at the time of the deceased’s death or at the time the application is being considered.
It is important to see a solicitor to ascertain your rights.
It is important to see a specialist estate litigation solicitor to ascertain your rights.
Process of making a Family Provision Application
- The application is made by the filing of an application in the relevant Court form together with a detailed affidavit including all evidence from relevant witnesses on both sides.
- The matter is then listed for a compulsory mediation. Generally, the application is filed by the person making the claim against the executor of the deceased’s estate.
- If the matter is not successfully resolved at a mediation, then the matter will be listed for a hearing.
The general time frame, assuming nothing untoward happens between the time of making the application and the Court hearing is somewhere between one and two years from the date when the application is made.
What if I am an Executor?
If you are an executor, who is the subject of Family Provision application then you need to seek the advice of a lawyer.
Retaining Turner Freeman in a Family Provision or contested Will claim
If you are an executor who is the subject of a Family Provision Act application you are entitled to an indemnity in respect of the costs of defending the application, from the assets of the estate.
In the event that there is a Family Provision application, the estate cannot ordinarily be distributed until the application has been completed.
Call Turner Freeman Will Dispute Lawyers today on 13 43 63 to arrange your free consultation and case assessment.
Ask us about our NO WIN-NO FEE* Policy for family provision claims.