The passing of a loved one can be an extremely emotional experience. This can be made all the more difficult if there is any kind of dispute against the Will of the deceased.
Disputes often arise when parties that are associated with the deceased person disagree with their intentions as contained in their Will.
Common scenarios that can cause disputes:
- Parties being completely left out of the Will and they feel that they are entitled to a portion of the estate,
- Parties being included in the Will but believing that they should have a larger share of the estate,
- The executor or other beneficiaries believe that a party that has been nominated in the Will should not receive any portion of their allocated share,
- The executor or other beneficiaries believe that a party that has been nominated in the Will should only receive a reduced portion of their allocated share, or
- If the Will is invalid or has been incorrectly executed, or there is no Will at all, then there may be grounds for various parties to make claims on the assets of the estate.
The criteria regarding who is eligible to contest a Will varies slightly from State to State. In New South Wales, those who can commence proceedings for provision include: a spouse (including a de facto) and a person living in a domestic relationship (including a member of a same-sex couple); a child of the deceased; a former spouse of the deceased; other dependent persons (for example, a financial dependant) who is a grandchild or was a member of the same household. In all States, the spouse and children of the deceased are eligible applicants.
By and large, the family provision legislation throughout Australia is relatively uniform. Essentially, each of the States and Territories confer powers on the court to make an order if the provisions of the deceased’s will, or the intestacy laws of the relevant State, fail to make adequate provision for the property maintenance and support of an eligible person.
If you would like more information or advice regarding creating or contesting a Will or for any other Wills or Estate Planning matter, please contact us on 1300 QUINNS or click here to submit an online enquiry.