If you feel you have been treated unfairly in a will, you might be able to challenge it in court. Contesting a will can be a difficult process, and specific criteria must be met to succeed in a contested will claim. To successfully contest a will, we strongly recommend employing experienced probate lawyers, who will be able to explain how the law works across each state, and help you proceed with a will dispute claim if you are unhappy with the will of a family member or a close personal friend.
At Gerard Malouf & Partners, we have a strong track record of successfully challenging wills on behalf of our clients. We remove the financial barrier that often prevents people from taking legal action by offering our services on a no-win, no-fee basis*.
When it comes to will disputes, the law changes across states in Australia. However all states will have a legal framework for creating and executing wills. This law will also set out what happens if someone dies without creating a will and how the deceased’s assets should be distributed.
When a will is valid, it can still be challenged on the following grounds:
Wills are challenged in a wide variety of circumstances. Gerard Malouf & Partners are recognised as experts in cases of inheritance dispute, situations in which we have supported successful will contest claims include:
Only certain people are eligible when contesting a will, these include:
When contesting a will, it is essential that you demonstrate a personal connection to the deceased. It must be shown that they owed you a “moral dependence” that has been wholly or partially unfulfilled.
You will also need to demonstrate that you have a need for provision from the deceased’s estate.
If that sounds complicated, don’t worry. We are here to help. Gerard & Malouf Partners are highly experienced, no win no fee probate lawyers. We can help you assess whether or not you have a claim during a free consultation – contact our expert will dispute team today on 1800 004 878.
Time limits for contesting a will in Australia vary from state to state:
It’s important to get legal advice about your disputed will claim as soon as possible, to give yourself the best chance of bringing a successful case.
An intestate will is one that is only partially complete. If you are a family member and you want to challenge an intestate will, you have a good chance of success. Or, at least, what you may be entitled to will be clearer, as it is covered in the Succession Act 2006.
However, this doesn’t mean challenging intestate wills is easy. You should speak to a probate attorney to get some tailored legal advice on your specific situation and your options.
A probate attorney will offer expert knowledge and experience of wills and disputes. If you wish to challenge a will, your first step should be speaking to a specialist law firm.
At Gerard Malouf & Partners, we are happy to offer free consultations to help you to decide if you have grounds to make a claim. If you do, then the first step will be for us to help you reach out to the other parties involved to try to reach an amicable settlement.
If this is successful, we will get you a deed of settlement, which is a legally enforceable document, setting out the revised terms. This process can usually be concluded in two to four months.
In cases where a new settlement can’t be agreed upon, the next step would be a court summons. Often this prompts formal mediation and doesn’t actually require the matter to be heard in court. A mediated settlement takes between four and six months based on our experience.
Matters that do end up in court take a lot longer to resolve – contesting a will can usually take up to 12 months in these circumstances, depending on the complexity of the case.
The cost of challenging a will varies from case to case. The final bill depends on the complexity of the will and the nature of the dispute, as well as how the matter is ultimately resolved. Going to court is of course the most expensive means of dispute resolution.
At Gerard Malouf & Partners, we provide our expert legal services on a no-win, no-fee basis (subject to our terms). That means if your claim is unsuccessful, we don’t charge a fee. However, there may be other expenses incurred, such as the hiring of external investigators.
If the matter goes to court and you are successful, the court might order the other side to pay your legal fees. The different options and potential outcomes when contesting a will can be discussed with one of our probate lawyers in a free consultation, either in person or over the phone.
We pride ourselves not only on our track record of success, but also our firm commitment to integrity. We are always completely, 100 per cent honest with our clients and will turn people away if we believe they have no grounds to dispute a will.
* subject to our terms