Contesting a Will

 

Disputes can arise between family members after a person dies. Sometimes a claim may come from someone who is not a member of the family.

A person may die not having made a will or the will made does not provide for people it should. If this happens, there is the potential for a claim to be made against the estate of the deceased person. That claim will be made by a person who considers that adequate provision has not been made for them in the will.

Another area where a claim may arise is if when the will was made, the person making the will was ill or incapacitated. This circumstance may cast doubt on the validity of the will or the provisions made in it.

To summarise, a will can be contested or challenged when it is alleged:

  • The will was incorrectly executed or was tampered with

  • The will was executed under pressure from others or the will maker was incapable of making a will

  • The meaning of the will is unclear

  • Insufficient provision has been made in the will for a spouse, children or other people the will maker had an obligation to provide for

 

Testator's family maintenance applications (TFM)

 

Under testator's family maintenance applications (TFM) laws, any person can apply for a share or an increased share in an estate if they can show the deceased had a responsibility to make provision for them in the will and did not do so. An applicant need not be related to the deceased. Potential applicants include domestic partners, stepchildren and people who cared for the deceased. Applications must be commenced within six months of probate being granted.

Challenging a will is complicated, expensive and time consuming. Legal advice should always be sought before doing so. Your lawyer can advise on the best ways to avoid future challenges to your will.

We have long experience in handling will and estate disputes in Victoria. We have acted for both executors of estates and claimants. With the broad experience gained over many years, we are able to quickly assess the potential of any claim and give practical and timely advice.

If you are an executor of a disputed estate or a person wishing to make a claim against an estate, we can provide accurate advice and professional service in handling the matter.