Contested Wills & Estates Lawyers for Victoria
While each Australian State and Territory has its own laws regarding disputing a Will, they share many similarities. Szabo & Associates Solicitors, established in Sydney in 1994, can provide specialist advice to those who are considering contesting a Will or disputing an estate in Victoria. Get in touch with our team today.
There are several grounds for disputing a Will, which fall into two broad categories. If there is a query as to its legitimacy, a Will challenge can be brought as to a Will’s validity. If the Will is valid but has not adequately provided for certain categories of persons, this may be subject to a Will contest. Where a person lives is not relevant to making a claim. The important factor is that the deceased lived and owned assets in Victoria.
Contesting a Will- Victoria Solicitors for Contested Will Claims
If they are ‘eligible’, a person who has been left without adequate provision from a deceased’s estate may be able to bring a family provision claim (testator’s family maintenance claim) for a share or larger share of the estate.
Who can contest a Will?
This type of claim is usually brought by a close family member such as a spouse, partner or child. Others who potentially might bring a claim, depending on the circumstances, can include:
- a former spouse or domestic partner who was eligible to bring family law proceedings at the date of the deceased’s death;
- a registered carer;
- a member of the deceased’s household;
- the spouse or partner of a child of the deceased if that child dies within a year of the deceased;
- an ‘assumed’ child meaning one treated by the deceased as a natural child.
What will the Court look at?
In making a determination, the Court must consider the terms and rationale of the Will. In addition, the Court may consider all relevant matters such as the size and nature of the estate, the claimant’s financial situation, age, health, relationship with the deceased and any competing claims.
A claim should normally be made within six months from the date of the grant of probate.
Deceased Estate Litigation, Victoria - Challenging the Validity of a Will
If there are concerns about a Will being invalid, there are several grounds on which it can be challenged. The most common reasons include undue influence, a lack of mental capacity or a lack of knowledge and approval of the contents of the Will by the maker. The Will itself may not conform to the required formalities or is fraudulent.
In Victoria, a person wishing to make a challenge must have the required ‘standing’. This includes anyone whose rights would be impacted if the Will were to be revoked or the application for a grant of probate was rejected.
It is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible as there is only a brief window of opportunity to prevent the Will from being declared invalid by the Supreme Court.
Szabo & Associates Solicitors - Disputing a Will & Deceased Estate Dispute Litigation Lawyers Victoria
If you require advice on any aspect of challenging or contesting a Will in Victoria or are involved in any type of deceased estate litigation, please contact us on 02 9281 5088 or fill in our online contact form.