While wills are helpful legal documents that can make sorting out a deceased individual’s estate easier, they’re not always a said-and-done deal. Across the country, eligible individuals – typically family members – contest the will of a deceased loved one when they feel they were unfairly provided for.
Along with your relationship to the deceased, courts will take into consideration a number of other factors to determine if your request to contest a will is viable.
First and foremost, it’s important to understand if you are eligible to contest the will in question. According to the Public Trustee of Western Australia, the most common parties who are entitled to a claim are spouses, children, parents and de facto partners of the deceased. In some instances, courts will consider approving a claim brought forward by stepchildren, grandchildren or former partners, but in these cases, they will likely want more information on their relationship with the deceased.
All told, contesting wills is more commonplace than you may think, and claims are typically successful. The University of New South Wales Law Journal reported that about 75% of all family provision claims across the country were approved by courts. While partners of the deceased were most successful with litigation, children and extended family were also able to contest wills.
Even if you’re eligible to contest a will and are doing so within the appropriate time limit for your state, your claim is not guaranteed to be approved. The Supreme Court of New South Wales explained that along with the aforementioned important factors, courts will also take into consideration the size of the estate, your unique relationship with the diseases and your personal financial situation.
If you’re filing a claim to be included in the will or receive more assets, you must be able to prove your financial need for the money. Courts will likely scrutinise your current situations, looking at the big picture of your finances, debts, assets, income and expenses to determine if what you’re asking for is reasonable.
As an eligible dependent filing a claim within the time limitations, you can still contest a will if you’re wealthy, but it’s less likely you will receive the assets you desire.
For more information on contesting wills and finding out your eligibility, contact the professionals at Gerard Malouf & Partners. We are here to help you with everything you need to know, so get in touch today.