We have successfully resolved many complicated Inheritance Claims and Will Disputes in Adelaide and South Australia (often by negotiation without the need to go to Court). We can also help you to realise or defend entitlements in a Contested Estate – see our client Reviews. Call us to talk to an experienced Adelaide wills dispute lawyer about your inheritance matter on a no obligation and no cost basis.
Will Disputes, Inheritance Claims and Will Dispute Lawyers:
- Circumstances In Which You May Be Able To Challenge a Will or Make an Inheritance Claim;
- Will Disputes and Will Challenges;
- Inheritance Claims;
- Who Pays for Contested Estate Legal Costs?
Circumstances In Which You May Be Able To Challenge a Will or Make an Inheritance Claim
It is important to act quickly if you have been left out of a Will, there is some irregularity concerning the Will or if you feel that adequate provision has not been made. Strict time limits apply.
Will disputes, contested estates and inheritance claims will require a detailed examination of the deceased estate and the surrounding circumstances.
There are a number of circumstances in which you may be entitled to challenge a Will, or make a claim for greater provision from a deceased estate. You should seek advice immediately if:
- You were dependent on the deceased and you have not been provided for in their Will;
- The provision made for you in the Will is not adequate for your needs;
- You believe that the Will is unfair;
- You are named as Executor and the Will does not provide for a family member or spouse;
- You believe that the deceased was not of sound mind when they made their last Will;
- You believe that the deceased was unduly influenced by one or more beneficiaries named in the Will;
- The deceased passed away without a Will; or
- The Will is unclear.
Provided you comply with the time limits you can claim a larger amount than that left to you under the Will. Find out more
Will Disputes and Will Challenges
The validity of a Will can be challenged for various reasons, including the legal incapacity of the Will maker, undue influence by a family member or fraudulent circumstances such as invalid amendments to the Will or incorrect execution.
A common example of when Wills are challenged is when an elderly parent is taken along by a son or daughter to a lawyer for the purpose of making their Will, usually to give a greater benefit to that son or daughter. There have been circumstances where the parent cannot speak English well or at all, or is suffering from dementia. Where the Will maker has not had the opportunity to consider the terms of the Will, or did not understand or approve its contents, then the Will may be invalid.
An inheritance claim may be made against an estate by a person who feels that they have not been adequately provided for.
Only close relatives are entitled to make such claims. Generally spouses (including former spouses and domestic partners), children and grandchildren have a right to make a claim. Step-children can make a claim if they were dependent upon the Will maker immediately before their death, or were entitled to be maintained by them. Parents and siblings of the Will maker can make a claim if they cared for or contributed to the maintenance of the Will maker during their lifetime.
Yes, a Will can be contested after Probate has been granted. An application (to contest the Will) must be made within 6 months of the Grant of Probate and prior to the final distribution of the estate. The Court may extend the time within which an application can be made but only if the application for an extension of time is made prior to the final distribution of the estate. (see Section 8 of the Inheritance (Family Provision) Act 1972 (“the Act“)). It is important for anyone wanting to contest a Will to first determine if they fall into the category of people eligible to contest (see Section 6 of the Act) and then to notify the Executor of the Will as soon as possible of their intention to contest or make a claim on the estate. The actual claim consists of a Supreme Court summons supported by an affidavit that must be filed and served on the Executor of the Will within 6 months of the grant of Probate. If you are the Executor of a Will and there is a prospect of someone making a claim then as Executor you should wait until 6 months from the grant of Probate before distributing the estate and consider advertising the grant of Probate and your intention to distribute the estate. See also “Contested Estates and Inheritance Claims“.
An inheritance claim will be assessed by the Court considering a number of factors:
- The nature of claimant’s relationship with the Will maker;
- The claimant’s current financial position;
- The size of the estate; and
- The competing interests of the other named beneficiaries and any other person making a claim.
Yes but a contingency arrangement may not be necessary because if you do not have a claim we will tell you – generally without charge. If you do have a claim we will generally wait for payment without charging the success fee applicable under a contingency arrangement. Find out more
Who Pays For Contested Estate Legal Costs?
Importantly there is no cost to telephone us for an initial consult or meeting in our office. We would be pleased to meet with you on a no obligation and no cost basis. Please contact Michelle Crichton or Emma Marinucci on 8362 6400 to discuss your matter or to arrange a time for a meeting.
The legal costs associated with a contested estate (including the executor’s costs and a claimant’s costs) are often paid by the estate. It is of course true that the more costs an estate pays the less that will be available for distribution to beneficiaries. We are therefore as cost conscious and commercially minded with contested estates as with any other matter.
We understand that in most cases our clients are unable to pay costs while a matter is negotiated or litigated and we therefore normally await payment of our fees until the end of the matter.
Read our Client Reviews and then talk to us about your contested estate or inheritance claim matter on a no obligation basis.