In New South Wales, if you feel you may not have been treated fairly in a will, you can question its validity, and make an application under the Family Provision chapter of the Succession Act 2006.
To make a successful application, legal advice is critical. Here are common questions regarding contesting a will.
What are examples of circumstances where a will might be contested?
Perhaps you suspect that a will was not made by the deceased. Or, perhaps it seems like it was altered suspiciously while he or she was incapacitated. Maybe you think there was undue influence on the will-maker from someone else who stands to benefit. These are examples of scenarios where you may want to contest a will.
How much time do I have to contest a will?
Contesting a will is time sensitive. Under the Succession Act 2006, you must make an application within 12 months of the individual’s death. Note this used to be 18 months, but has been changed.
On behalf of you as the applicant, we can ask the Court if this period can be extended, if circumstances warrant.
Am I eligible to contest a will?
Here is a list of who is eligible to contest a will:
- wife or husband (at time of death) of the deceased
- a “de facto” partner, with whom the deceased was living (includes same-sex partners); a de facto relationship is two unmarried people living together as part of a couple, who are not related by family.
- the child of the deceased
- the deceased’s former wife or husband
- a person who was dependent on the deceased person, fully or partially, and a member of the same household (at any time)
- a grandchild who was dependent on the deceased person, fully or partially
- a person living in a “close personal relationship” with the deceased, at the time of the deceased person’s death
What is a “close personal relationship”?
The Succession Act defines this as a relationship between two adults living together that’s not a marriage or a de facto relationship. They may or may not be related by family. Each provides the other with free care and/or domestic support. This does not include care provided for a fee, for a reward or on behalf of a third person or organisation.
How can Thomas Booler Lawyers help?
We understand the sensitivities surrounding wills. Often disputes can arise at a time of grief and mourning for families. Emotions are often involved and things can get heated. We can remove the emotion and help you focus on the steps you can take for contesting a will. And we will explain your situation in plain language rather than confusing legal jargon.
- Analyse your eligibility for a claim
- Give you a sense of how long the process will take, versus the time remaining to contest a will
- Advise on the potential for an award from your claim
- Discuss alternatives, such as mediation
- What next steps should I take if I feel a will should be contested?
If you have concerns, don’t delay. Contact our team today for a consultation. And remember, we have a ‘No win — No fee’ arrangement.