- Our client was a lifelong friend of the deceased, providing ongoing care and support.
- He was assured by the deceased that he would be provided for out of his will. It was later found that the deceased had no will.
- GMP Contesting Wills Lawyers ensured provision was made for our client on the basis of the longstanding verbal promise from the deceased.
Is it possible to achieve a settlement from an Estate when you are not a family member and there is no Will? This is a difficult question, however, yes, in limited circumstances it is possible to achieve a settlement from an Estate when you are not a family member and there is no Will.
If you are able to prove:
- There is a long-term relationship between yourself and the deceased;
- There was an ongoing reliance on your care and support from the deceased;
- It was the wishes of the deceased for you to receive a benefit from the Estate, forming a verbal contract.
If you meet the above criteria, you may be successful in obtaining a settlement from an Estate. Our client was the lifelong friend of the deceased, providing ongoing care and support, driving him to appointments, providing him with companionship, buying groceries, and cleaning his home. Our client provided care and continued to provide high-level care as the deceased assured our client that he would be provided for out of his will.
When it was discovered that the deceased in fact had no Will it was a shock to our client after the promises made to him and the high-level care provided to the deceased which had been given on the basis that our client would be reimbursed for his time and efforts from the deceased Estate. Our client came to Gerard Malouf & Partners unsure of his rights but seeking help in petitioning the Estate for provision.
The GMP Contesting Wills Lawyers were successful in bringing a claim to the deceased Estate to ensure provision was made for our client on the basis of the longstanding verbal promise from the deceased.
Frequently Asked Qeustions
Contesting a will in Australia is a process which must typically be started within a specific time frame. If you try to contest a will after that time frame, you have to have an exception, such as not knowing about the death of the deceased person until after the deadline passed.
If you were estranged from the deceased, provision might have been withheld unlawfully in their estate plan and will, giving you grounds to contest. You should lodge a claim as soon as possible to gain your rightful share of the inheritance.
Waiting to contest a will can be problematic, because once the will is granted probate and the executor can disburse the assets included in the estate, it can be impossible to recoup them from the beneficiaries to whom they were assigned.
How long do you have? That’s one of the most important questions when contesting a will. The answer may vary depending on which Australian state or territory the will maker lived in.
The first step in disputing a will should be a consultation with solicitors from a law firm that includes family provision claims among its areas of expertise. This conversation will involve a frank analysis of your dispute and its chance of success.
If seasoned lawyers consider your matter valid, then you can declare your intent to claim. This should take place not long after the death or grant of probate (New South Wales permits filings up to 12 months post-death, but the limit is 6 months in). You must clearly argue that you have a pertinent connection to the decedent entitling you to compensation you didn’t initially receive, and explain the “moral obligation” to you this individual should have met.
Successful arguments of these facts will earn you a day in court. Depending on the situation, you may be more likely to resolve this in mediation than before a magistrate; it all depends on how strongly the defendants oppose your claim. You can receive financial compensation in either context if your case is resolved in your favour.
You are entitled to represent yourself (and yourself alone) in all Australian legal matters, criminal or civil. But you cannot represent anyone else; e.g., without a lawyer, you wouldn’t be able to mount a challenge alongside others if all of you were disenfranchised by one particular beneficiary.
Moreover, unless you have significant experience in family law, doing so is a huge mistake. Contesting a will is an extremely complex undertaking, involving intense emotions and high tension, and while an experienced lawyer can manage these matters effectively and objectively, you almost certainly cannot.
Will Dispute Lawyers will also be invaluable in cases challenging the actions of an executor, which can go as high as the Supreme Court.