Contesting a Will

Have you been left out of a will or treated unfairly? Find out if you have a claim.

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In 2020 alone, we secured over $21 million in benefits for our Family Provision clients.

Common Questions

What are the different types of Will disputes?

Put simply, when you challenge the Will you are saying the Will was not made properly, so you are challenging the validity of the document itself.

When you contest the will, you are disputing how the property was divided up by the deceased (so there is a ‘contest’ between the beneficiaries about who got what).

Am I eligible to challenge a Will?

As a general rule, the law respects a person’s right to decide who will inherit their assets after they die.

However, in certain cases the courts have the power to override a Will to give people close to the deceased a portion of their estate.

For example if:

  • The deceased lacked mental capacity when they signed the Will
  • They made the Will under the influence of others, or
  • Fraud or forgery was involved

Am I eligible to contest a Will?

The rules differ slightly from state to state, but essentially you can contest a Will if you can prove:

  • you are an “eligible” person and/or
  • the deceased had a moral obligation to provide for you

Generally, eligible persons are:

  • Spouse of the deceased person
  • Former spouse
  • De facto spouse
  • Child, foster child, or stepchild
  • Grandchild
  • Sibling
  • A person who was, at any time, dependent on the deceased for financial maintenance or support
  • A person who was living with in a close personal relationship with the deceased at the time of death.

Are there time limits to dispute a Will?

The time limits to dispute a Will vary between different states and territories.

  • NSW – 12 months from the date of death of the deceased
  • QLD – 9 months from the date of death
  • VIC, SA, and WA – 6 months from the date probate is granted
  • TAS – 3 months from the date probate is granted
  • NT – 12 months from the date probate is granted

These time limits are not set in stone. The court has the power to extend time limits to make a family provision claim in certain circumstances, for example if you were not aware of your rights.

Even if it appears that you may be out of time to make a claim, we encourage you to call us for free advice on your particular situation.

Will I need to go to court?

Most cases are finalised through out-of-court negotiations between the parties. This usually happens during compulsory mediation, which is arranged by the court.

Do I need a lawyer?

The law relating to family provision is complicated. In any Will Dispute the court will consider complex legal and financial issues before deciding if you are an “eligible” person.

Evidence must be carefully prepared to comply with legal and procedural requirements. It’s in your best interests to have an experienced legal expert arguing your case.

How long does it take to dispute a Will?

A typical family provisions claim will take anywhere from 6 to 18 months to finalise, depending on your particular situation. For example:

  • Whether you are challenging or contesting the Will
  • The number of parties involved
  • Whether probate has been granted
  • How complex the legal issues are

You can contact our Will Disputes team for free initial advice on how to proceed and an estimate of how long your claim will take based on the facts of your individual situation.

How do I get a copy of a Will?

You can get a copy of a Will from the executor or the solicitor acting for the estate. Our team can organise this for you if are having trouble obtaining a copy.

What are estates, probate and letters of administration?

An estate is basically all the assets that were owned by the deceased person, including cash, vehicles, real estate, and anything else of value.

A grant of probate is when an executor named in a Will applies to the court for authorisation to deal with a deceased estate. If the application is successful, it means the Court recognises that the Will is legally valid.

If a deceased person does not leave a Will, does not appoint an executor to deal with their estate, or the executor is not willing or able to deal with the estate, another person like a spouse or child of the deceased can make an application to the Court for a grant of “letters of administration”. If this application is successful, that person can deal with the deceased’s estate in the same way as when there is a grant of probate.

What happens if there is no Will?

This is known as dying ‘intestate’. In this case, the deceased’s property gets distributed according to the rules of each state.

These rules are general in nature and do not consider each individual situation, so there may be an unfair distribution of the assets. This is where our team of specialised lawyers can help you get your fair entitlement.

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98% Success Rate

We win the overwhelming majority of our cases. This doesn’t just happen. It’s hard, diligent work that gets these results. We leave nothing to chance in preparing your claim; the result is you get maximum compensation that the law permits.

Why choose our team of Inheritance Lawyers?

Recognised as one of Australia’s best Inheritance Law Firms, for over 20 years we have helped thousands of people all over Australia make successful family provision claims.

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Leaders in our Field

For over 20 years we have worked tirelessly to be the best in the field. Our lawyers will leave no stone unturned in pursuit of your inheritance.

Family Provision Law Experts

We have an expert team that deals exclusively with Will Disputes, headed by Law Society Accredited Specialists. No matter how complex your claim, we have the expertise to handle it successfully.

Free Legal Advice

Our expert lawyers provide a free initial consultation to advise you on your chances of success, with no obligation from you to proceed. It’s free to find out where you stand.

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34 Offices Australia Wide

With offices all over Australia, we can help you wherever you are. And if you are too sick to travel, we can organise video conferencing, or come to you in person.

Our Unique Perspective

Will disputes is a complex area of law. Our lawyers have the training and expertise to identify all the elements required to secure your inheritance.

What to expect
Your Family Provision Claim Process

Being left out of a will (or dealing with a situation where there is no will) is challenging and the idea of taking on the estate might feel daunting. But don’t worry. You’ll have your own lawyer who will guide and support you through the entire process. We handle everything, so you can put things right.

  1. You contact us to find out if you have a claim We’ll be able to tell you whether you have a valid legal claim to contest or challenge the will.
  2. We begin work on a No Win No Fee basis We start preparing your case. This involves preparing all the necessary court documents and supporting evidence. Including witness statements and affidavits, confirming your relationship with the deceased.
  3. We file your claim in Court We’ve streamlined our process so that your dispute gets finalised in the shortest time possible. Most cases do not go to court and the finalised by way of negotiations between the parties.
  4. Your claim is successfully finalised

Find out where you stand free of charge

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