Contesting a Will
When a family member passes away it is a difficult, emotional time, which is made more stressful when you realise that you (or a family member) have been left without adequate provision in the Will. In other words, the bequest left to you under the Will doesn’t allow for your proper maintenance and support. As a result, you are considering contesting a Will.
Firstly, you need to ensure that you are an eligible person. Not just anyone has the legal right to Contest a Will in Queensland. To be an eligible person you must be one of the following:
- The Deceased’s spouse:
Husband, wife, de facto partner, register parent (or former).
- The Deceased’s child:
Natural, unborn, lawfully adopted, stepchild
- The Deceased’s dependent;
Someone who was wholly or substantially maintained by the Deceased.
It is very difficult to define adequate provision and it varies from case to case. Your financial position and circumstances (standard of living) and other factors must be taken into account.
Strict time limits for starting a claim do apply, so it’s important that you act immediately to secure your legal right when contesting a Will. Delaying your claim may result in a depletion of assets that may negatively affect the outcome or you may lose your right to make a claim at all. Generally, you have up to six months from the date the Deceased passed away to notify the estate of your pending claim.
If you make a claim and you, the Executor and/or other family members cannot agree on your distribution, you may have to settle this matter in Court under a “Family Provision Application”. A mediation conference is an ideal environment to be heard and attempt to resolve the matter. If a resolution cannot be reached, then Court is your final option. However, we recommend, where possible, to settle out of Court as this action can be quite costly.
Contesting a Will is a challenging and uncomfortable experience that’s likely to threaten the fabric of your family. It must not be taken lightly.
We are here to help guide you through the ‘Contesting a Will’ process. If you have questions you would like to have answered, please contact our office today to arrange a meeting to discuss your options when contesting a Will.