Contesting a Will /
Inheritance Disputes

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Common Questions

What should you do if you have been left out of a will?

If you have been left out of a will and you believe this is unfair, you should take the following steps as soon as possible:

  • Step 1: Contact the executor and/or the solicitor acting for the estate and try to obtain a copy of the will.
  • Step 2: Start gathering evidence about your relationship with the deceased.
  • Step 3: Obtain legal advice as soon as possible. It’s important to act quickly because there is always a risk that the deceased’s estate could be sold or transferred to someone else.

Would you like to talk to a lawyer who is an expert in contesting and challenging wills? If so, call us now on 1300 769 665 for a free initial consultation.

What process will we follow in handling your claim?

When MCL takes on your case, we manage the entire claims process for you - taking as much stress out of an already challenging situation as we can.

  • Step 1: You call us or meet with us, explain the nature of your claim, and we tell you whether we believe you have a valid legal claim to contest or challenge the will.
  • Step 2: If we believe your claim is valid and agree to take on your case on a No-Win – No-Fee basis, we will arrange an appointment at one of our offices. If it is difficult for you to travel, we can arrange a home visit.
  • Step 3: We identify the size and nature of the estate.
  • Step 4: We prepare all the necessary court documents.
  • Step 5: We obtain all the necessary evidence, including any witness statements or affidavits confirming your relationship with the deceased.
  • Step 6: We prepare and file court documents and conduct your claim in the court in a way which ensures that the dispute is finalised in the shortest period of time and the greatest advantage to you.


Throughout this process, we will communicate with you in a language you can understand and support you at every stage of your claim, including during settlement conferences, mediations and court hearings.

On what grounds can you contest or challenge a will?

Everyone has the right to decide who will inherit their assets after they die.

A will is a person’s formal record of their wishes regarding the disposal of their assets. As a general rule, the law respects a person’s right to dispose of their assets as they wish after their death. However, there are laws that allow eligible people to contest or challenge a will, or to make a claim against a deceased estate, in certain circumstances.

What is ‘contesting’ a will?

‘Contesting’ a will is where a person uses the family provision legislation to apply to the court for a portion, or a larger portion, of a deceased person’s estate on the grounds that you haven’t been ‘adequately provided for’.

In this way, contesting a will can best be understood as a ‘contest’ among a deceased person’s family members regarding the proceeds of the deceased’s estate.


What is ‘challenging’ a will?

‘Challenging’ a will refers to challenging the validity of a will itself.

The reasons for challenging a will include:

  • Undue influence
  • Fraud
  • Forgery
  • Lack of mental capacity.

Wills can also be challenged if they don’t meet the formal requirements for making a valid will.

What is a family provision claim and how does it vary in each state?

In each Australian state and territory there is legislation that enables you to contest a will and make what is known as a family provision claim.

What is the purpose of the family provision laws?

The family provision laws enable the courts in each state and territory to intervene if they believe a will is unfairly causing hardship to a person associated with the deceased. In these cases, the court will override the will and grant a proportion of the deceased person’s estate to an ‘eligible applicant’.

How do the family provision laws in each state and territory differ?

While the basic principles enabling you to make a claim are similar, there are some important differences between the laws in each Australian state and territory in terms of:

  • Who is entitled make a family provision claim
  • The criteria used by the courts to assess whether they will recognise your claim and award you a share of the estate.

How do you know which is the correct state in which to make your family provision claim?

The law that applies to a particular family provision claim will depend on the state or territory in which the deceased person was living when they died and/or which state they owned the real estate or personal property.

A lawyer will be able to tell you where you should make your family provision claim.

If you are thinking of making a family provision claim, do you need to get legal advice?

The law relating to family provision cases is complex. So, if you are thinking of making a family provision claim, you will need a lawyer to:

  • Identify the state or territory where you should make your claim
  • Tell you whether you are eligible to make a claim
  • Advise you on whether your claim is likely to succeed
  • Navigate you through the claim’s process.

Strict time limits apply to family provision claims, so you should get legal advice as soon as possible.

For a free initial consultation to find out whether you can make a family provision claim, please call us on 1300 769 665.

What happens if you live in a different state from the deceased person?

If a person dies and leaves a property, the relevant law will be the law of the state in which the person died and/or left the property.

Even if you live in a different state from the deceased person, we can help you.

At Monaco Compensation Lawyers, each of our offices across Australia has a team that specialises in contesting and challenging wills, which means we are ideally placed to assist in these kinds of cases.

What happens if the deceased person didn’t leave a will?

If the deceased person didn’t leave a will, this is known as dying ‘intestate’.

In these cases, the deceased’s property is distributed according to rules set down in state-based legislation.

It is important to understand that these rules don’t consider the individual circumstances of any potential beneficiaries, so that there may be an unfair distribution of the deceased person’s assets.This is where a team of specialised lawyers may be able to help.

For a free initial consultation on a situation where someone close to you has died without leaving a will, please call us on 1300 769 665.

Contesting a will - the law in New South Wales

In NSW, if you believe that you have been left without adequate provision from a deceased estate, you may be able to contest the will and make a family provision claim.

The concept of ‘adequate provision’ is complex and difficult to define.

For this reason, it is important to get legal advice on whether you have received ‘adequate provision’ under the terms of the deceased’s will, and whether or not you may have a valid claim under the law for additional provision.

Who can contest a will in NSW?

In NSW, you can contest a will if you:

  • Are an ‘eligible person’; and you
  • • Can prove that the deceased person had a legal obligation to ‘adequately provide’ for you in their will and has failed to do so.

Who is an ‘eligible person’ under the law in NSW?

To be considered as an ‘eligible person’, you need to be the deceased person’s:

  • Spouse
  • De facto partner
  • Former spouse
  • Child
  • Stepchild
  • Foster child

In addition, an ‘eligible person’ may be someone who was:

  • Wholly or partly dependent on the deceased person
  • A member of the deceased person’s household at the time of their death
  • A person with whom the deceased person was living in a close personal relationship at the time of their death.

What issues do the courts in NSW consider when determining whether you may have a valid family provision claim?

In order to decide whether you have a valid family provision claim, the court may consider:

  • Your relationship with the deceased person
  • The obligations or responsibilities the deceased person owed to you
  • The value and location of the deceased person’s estate
  • Your financial circumstances, including your current and future financial needs
  • Whether you are financially supported by another person
  • Whether you have any physical, intellectual or mental disabilities
  • Your age
  • Whether you made any contribution to increase the value of the estate
  • Whether the deceased person already provided for you during their lifetime or from their estate
  • Whether the deceased person provided you with maintenance, support or assistance
  • Whether any other person is responsible for supporting you
  • Your character
  • If you are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, whether there is any applicable customary law
  • Any other claims on the estate
  • Any other matter the court considers as relevant.

Are there any time limits on family provision claims in NSW?

In NSW, if you’re an ‘eligible person’, your application must be made to the court within 12 months of the deceased person’s death. However, the court may make an exception in certain circumstances.

For a free initial consultation to find out whether you can make a family provision claim in New South Wales, please call us on 1300 769 665.

Why Choose MCL

MCL is one of Australia’s premier law firms.

Our lawyers have extensive experience in handling these kinds of claim. This means that your case will be assessed, valued and prepared expertly and efficiently.

We also know how to navigate your case through the court system in order to get the best possible result for you as quickly as possible.

Our lawyers have the expertise and experience to take on the large insurance companies that usually represent the medical service providers in these claims. Just as importantly, we have the financial muscle to go the distance against the limitless resources of these large insurers.

Our reputation for being tough, experienced and well-prepared means that the insurance companies respect us and are more likely to offer you fair and reasonable compensation for your injury or loss.

We provide a ‘No Win No Fee’ guarantee to all our clients. This means that you only pay us for our work after the successful conclusion of your claim.

Finally, if you entrust your matter to us, you will have your own lawyer, who will always be available to answer your questions and support you through the claims process.

Would you like a free initial consultation with a lawyer who is an expert in this field? If so, call us now on 1300 769 665.

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 43 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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