Contesting a Will / Inheritance Disputes

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Common Questions

What is the difference between contesting and challenging a will?

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 (i.e. there is a ‘contest’ between the beneficiaries over the estate).

Am I eligible to challenge the will?

As a general rule, the law respects a person’s right to decide who will inherit their assets after they die. However, we can help you challenge the will if we can prove the deceased person:

  • Did not have the mental capacity to make a will at the time they signed it, or
  • They made the will under the influence of others, or
  • There was fraud or forgery involved

Am I eligible to contest the will?

As a general rule, the law respects a person’s right to decide who will inherit what they own after they die. However, every state has “Family Provision” laws, which give the court the power to override a will, and give people close to the deceased who have missed out, a portion, or greater portion of the deceased’s estate.

The details are slightly different state to state, but essentially you can contest a will if you can prove:

  • You are an “eligible” person.
  • The deceased had a legal obligation to provide for you and has not done so.

You are an “eligible person” if you are a spouse, de facto, former spouse, child, grandchild, stepchild, foster child or a sibling of the deceased.

You are also “eligible” if you were wholly or partly dependent on the deceased (either financially or in a caring capacity), lived in the household of the deceased or had a close relationship with the deceased at the time of their death.

Can I contest a will without a lawyer?

The law relating to family provision is complicated. In any given case the court is likely to consider complex legal and financial issues before deciding if you are an “eligible” person. In addition to this, evidence needs to be carefully prepared to comply with legal and procedural requirements. So, it is in your best interests to have an experienced legal expert arguing your case.

Are there any time limits?

Yes. Strict time limits apply in these cases, so if you think you have a claim, get legal advice as soon as possible. Even if you think you are out of time to make a claim, we encourage you to call us, as the court can extend time periods to make a family provision claim in exceptional circumstances (for example, if you were not aware of your rights).

How do I get a copy of the will?

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

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 don’t 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.

How long does it take?

At typical Family Provisions claim will take anywhere from 6 to 18 months to finalise - it all depends on the issues of your particular situation. For example:

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

Contact us and a Wills team lawyer will be able to give you some initial free advice on how to proceed, and a better estimate of how long, based on the facts of your individual situation.

Will I need to go to court?

Most cases are finalised by negotiations between the parties. This usually happens at the compulsory mediation, which is usually arranged by the court.

Why should I trust Monaco Compensation Lawyers?

We will use our legal expertise to help you.

  • Experience

    We have over 20 years of experience successfully resolving thousands of claims, ranging from small inheritances to multi-million dollar disputes. This means we are able to assess, value and prepare your case in the shortest time - so you can get on with your life.

  • Skill

    Our inheritance team is lead by Accredited Specialists, recognised by the Law Society as the best of the best.

  • Australia Wide

    You need a lawyer who is an expert in the law of the state where the deceased person owned the property. As a national firm with offices across Australia, we can help you whatever state or territory you need to make your claim in.

  • Reputation

    Within the industry, our reputation for being tough, experienced and well-prepared means that other law firms respect us and are more likely to offer to settle.

  • Care

    It’s is a difficult time for you, full of emotional challenges and uncertainty. With us, you have your own specialised lawyer the whole way through, who will guide and support you through the entire process.

We’ve got what it takes. But don’t just take our word for it, check out our google reviews or watch what some of our clients say about us.

What should I expect?

  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

10 Reasons To Choose Us

You can afford high quality legal representation without having to pay any upfront costs. We will never charge unless we successfully recover compensation. This means that if your claim is unsuccessful, you don’t have to reimburse us for any of the legal fees and expenses associated with your case.

Free advice from a solicitor

You can get free advice from one of our expert lawyers both on the phone and or in person. How does it work? You simply call us at 1300 769 665 and you will be transferred to one of our lawyers who will provide you with clear and comprehensive advice free of charge. You can also submit an enquiry online and, again, our written advice to you will be obligation free.

98% cases won

We win the overwhelming majority of our cases. Obviously, this doesn’t happen by chance – only hard, diligent work gets results. What does it mean for you? It means that nothing is left to chance and no stone is left unturned in getting you the successful result you deserve.

Award winning law firm

At MCL we take pride in our work and work tirelessly to be the best in the industry. We have been voted Personal Injury Law Firm of the Year 2018 (ACQ5 Global Awards) and Most Outstanding Australian Compensation Law Firm (AI 2019 Excellence Awards).

4.8 Star rating on Google

Don’t just take our word for it – look at independent Google reviews from our clients. In fact, Monaco has the highest Google rating within the industry.

Leaders in our field

For over 20 years MCL has been a leader in the field of compensation law. With 36 offices nationwide, we can deliver our services to you wherever you are. No matter how big or small your claim, we have the expertise to handle it successfully.

We are specialists in Will Disputes

At Monaco, our lawyers are some of the best trained and qualified in the industry. We have a team dealing exclusively with Will Disputes, headed up by an Accredited Specialist. So no matter how complex your claim, we have the expertise to handle it successfully.

Maximum compensation

Don’t let insurance companies pay less than your claim is worth. You deserve substantial compensation for your suffering and it is our responsibility to get it for you. We have the training and expertise to ensure that nothing will be left to chance when preparing your claim. The result – maximum compensation recovered in every case.

We are in for the long haul

Compensation claims can be expensive to run. We have the financial muscle to go the distance against the limitless resources that can be deployed by the insurance companies. If we take your case, we’ll run it on a No Win No Fee basis, so you have nothing to lose.

Home and hospital visits

We have dealt with injured people over many years and understand that sometimes travelling to see a lawyer can be difficult. This is why we offer our free home and/or hospital visit service. All you need to do is ask!

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