Contesting a Will
Have you been left out of a will or treated unfairly? Find out if you have a claim.
Losing a family member or someone close to you is one of the most difficult things to come to terms with. It is especially difficult if you have been left out of their will, or you feel that your share is unfair.
Disputes over wills and estates are becoming more common in Australia. What constitutes a family is changing and becoming more diverse, and courts are increasingly taking this into consideration.
If you need to challenge or contest a will, we have a dedicated wills team with decades of experience to help you claim your fair entitlement. It’s important to get in touch with us quickly because strict time limits apply. You want to make sure the deceased estate isn’t sold or transferred to someone else before you make your claim.
Free initial consultation
We offer a free initial consultation in person or over the phone. A lawyer from the team will review your particular situation and can generally let you know then and there if you’ve got a claim. It costs you nothing to get expert legal advice. It’s really that simple.
No Win – No Fee Guarantee
We believe everyone should have access to quality legal representation and are confident in our ability to get you a successful legal outcome. So in addition to our free initial consultation, we offer a No Win, No Fee Guarantee. Meaning it costs you nothing to start your claim and you only pay us once we are successful. No successful outcome, no fee owing.
We can help, no matter where you live
Each state in Australia has different laws relating to contesting a will. It’s vital to have an experienced lawyer who is an expert in the law of the state where the deceased lived and owned their assets (including property, vehicles, money in the bank, and shares). As an award-winning national firm with offices right across Australia, we are able to help you wherever you live, even if you are in a different state from the deceased.
In 2020 alone we secured over $21 million in benefits for our Family Provision clients.
Don’t just take our word for it See what our clients say
I honestly cannot thank Monaco Solicitors enough
When my life turned upside when my dad passed, the last thing I could handle to process was his estate and the hurdles that presented. Monaco Solicitors, especially my amazing lawyer Ben, literally saved my life.
There is no way I would have ended up with the 100% in winnings if it were not for his extensive knowledge, persistence and professionalism throughout the whole process. I honestly cannot thank Monaco Solicitors enough for the life-changing result they have given me and my family. They believed in my argument and proof from the very beginning and with their extensive knowledge in law, gave me the best chance I could ever have. Thank you so much Monaco Solicitors.
Extremely compassionate and understanding
I would fully recommend Monaco Solicitors for several reasons. My case involved the death of my husband so it has been an extremely difficult time for me. My lawyer (Anthony Porthouse) and his team were extremely compassionate and understanding. They kept me up-to-date with the progression of the case and explored every avenue regarding getting me the best result.
Trust was a very important factor and I trusted their judgement completely. I was treated with respect and not made to feel as though I was just another case. If you need a very good lawyer then I definitely would consider Monaco Solicitors. VH.
Best decision I made
Working with Monaco Solicitors was the best decision I made when dealing with the legalities following my Dad’s passing.
They are fast acting, prompt with updates, have excellent communication, are always happy to help and very knowledgeable (which helped in so many situations we came across working together). I would recommend them to anyone looking for a solicitor.
I have been very impressed
In the case for my son I dealt primarily with solicitor Daniella who was always calm, professional and willing to listen as well as giving a quick response to any emails and concerns my son had.
I have been very impressed with the service from Monaco solicitors and knew very early on my sons case was in good hands
I would definitely recommend Monaco Solicitors as an excellent practice with approachable and professional staff who always informed us approximately how long issues would take to resolve.
Well done Monaco Solicitors and particularly Daniella for a successful outcome for my son.
Thank you so much for all your hard work and effort on his part.
Second to none
My experience with Monaco Compensation Lawyers showed me what a professional outfit they are.
From the first conversation they presented themselves as honest and gave me a thorough rundown of the procedures.
With all the correspondence, either the forms where in my letterbox the next day or any emails I sent had an immediate response.
They presented great patience and understanding when sometimes I asked some silly questions.
I would recommend this organisation to anyone seeking the relevant compensation as all through the process their support is second to none.
Results came very quickly
Very responsive and great at keeping me updated all the way through my case. Results came very quickly and they were very comprehensive and accurate when representing my case. They always answered my questions and helped me understand the process along the way.
Very happy with this firm and would recommend.
I am thankful from bottom of my heart
I have no words to express the gratitude I feel towards the entire Monaco team for the support and professional help they have given me in regards to my matter. Kelly, Jo, Megg and everyone involved in my case have always gone beyond their formal responsibilities to push me through very hard times and finally achieve a positive outcome.
Besides their extremely professional services, they supported me, in every possible way, when no one else did. I felt encouraged to make difficult decisions and break my fears along the way. I am thankful from bottom of my heart. I can truly recommend them, not only as lawyers but as people.
We were told by another law firm that we had no claim
We were told by another law firm that we had no claim and was told about Monaco Solicitors and today we have settled a claim.
Anthony Porthouse was very professional and very responsive and made clear what was happening and what we should do. I would highly recommend Monaco Solicitors for any case that you need to be looked after.
They helped me a lot
The process didn’t take long and the lawyers did all the work. Very happy with how they efficiently handled my case.
Especially Daniella Dababneh whom finalised the whole process for me.
Always kind, understanding, efficient and supportive.
I’m a grateful lady who has been through a tough time.
They helped me a lot.
A massive thank you for all that you were able to accomplish in such a short time
A massive thank you for all that you were able to accomplish in such a short time
Excellent communication throughout the entire process
Outstanding professionalism and will stick by your side the entire journey. Excellent communication throughout the entire process and able to answer questions promptly.
Special thanks to Daniella who was able to manage a very complex and sensitive case and was able to facilitate a positive outcome. Monaco Solicitors highly recommended!!!!
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
- 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.
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.
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.
4.9 Star Rating on Google
Don’t just take our word for it – look at independent Google reviews from our clients. Monaco has the highest Google rating within the industry.
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.
Millions won for our clients
Here are some examples of our firm’s recent wins
Liam and Pamela are denied their inheritance due to a family conflict
Liam and Pamela always had a fractured relationship with their father’s defacto partner and they never got along. When he passed away, they did not receive any inheritance from his estate. Liam and Pamela were always listed as beneficiaries in their late father’s previous wills however just two months before he died, they discovered that he’d changed his will, leaving everything to his defacto partner. They had only been a couple for two years.
Liam and Pamela were very suspicious of their late father’s sudden change of heart before his death so they came to us for legal advice. Our lawyers only had 28 days investigate, prepare and dispute our clients’ inheritance case. We immediately drafted statements from both Liam and Pamela detailing their past conflicts with their father’s defacto. We also obtained a wide range of personal material and records from Liam and Pamela including birthday cards, phone records and messages that portrayed a very loving relationship between our clients and their father. It was very obvious that the deceased would not have denied his children their rightful inheritance. At mediation, our team was able to successfully resolve Liam and Pamela’s dispute and they were awarded 40% of the estate which came to a total of $400,000.
Paul was unfairly left out of his late mother’s will and we turned this around
When Paul’s mother passed away, he suspected she had been influenced to change her will – leaving him out of his rightful share. In a previous version of the will, Paul knew that he was listed as a beneficiary. However, six months before his mother passed in a nursing home for dementia patients, a close family member persuaded her to amend the will.
When Paul came to see us, we recognised that his late mother would have lacked the mental capacity to make any serious decisions about her will before she died. So we immediately engaged a leading neuropsychologist specialising in dementia patients to review the deceased’s clinical records. Based on his comprehensive analysis, it was very clear that, when the new will was drawn up, Paul’s late mother would not have been in the right state of mind to change the details. Our team also interviewed several people who were close to our client’s mother. They confirmed her unstable mental state in the months leading up to her death. When we took Paul’s case to mediation, our team was successful in securing him a settlement of $300,000 which was one third of his mother’s estate.
Greg lost his inheritance to his aunt after an edit to his father’s will.
When Greg’s father passed away, he left behind a will that named Greg as the executor and trustee of the estate. He was also listed as the beneficiary. However, after the funeral, Greg was shocked to discover that, four months before his father passed, the will was changed to remove him as the executor and beneficiary. Instead, the deceased’s entire estate would be passed to Greg’s aunt – his father’s sister. Greg thought this was an unfair and suspicious change particularly since it took place when his father was in a nursing home, suffering from Alzheimer’s disease when the will was altered.
Greg came to see us for advice and we agreed that this was a case requiring further investigation as quickly as possible. Our team had just 28 days to prepare and file the necessary documents on behalf of our client. We reached out to our network of experts and engaged a leading medical specialist who reviewed the deceased’s medical records. He compiled a comprehensive report that confirmed Greg’s father lacked the mental capacity to approve any estate changes given that he was in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease when he signed the paperwork.
To add more weight to our client’s inheritance appeal, our lawyers also obtained the nursing home’s logbooks where Greg’s father was a resident. When we reviewed these records, it became very clear, very quickly that the deceased’s sister regularly visited her brother especially around the time when the will was amended to remove Greg as executor and a beneficiary. We took our client’s case to mediation where we successfully resolved Greg’s dispute and he was awarded 30% of the estate totalling $600,000.
What to expect
Your Family Provision Claim Process
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Your claim is successfully finalised
Work with our award winning team
Hear Janette speak about her story and how we figured out a way to help her.