The Covid-19 pandemic is creating daily challenges for everyone. We remain open to assist you 24/7 and have systems in place to attend to your Wills & Estates matters during this time.
The highly contagious nature of COVID-19 and the serious complications which may arise in the elderly or people with underlying health issues is causing great concern in our community. During these times, people often turn their minds to what would happen to their loved ones if they became gravely ill or died. Many people feel compelled to create or update their Will and put Powers of Attorney and Powers of Enduring Guardian in place. We have safe processes in place which adhere to the Australian health guidelines to assist you with drafting and executing any wills & estates documents during this unprecedented time.
Can I contest a Will?
The death of someone close to us is often a difficult and disheartening time and often in such circumstances contesting a Will can and does make things more difficult. However, there are situations where you may believe that you or a loved one ought to be entitled to more from a deceased estate.
Even though the law recognises a person's right to choose who will inherit their property, there are often very good reasons a person should consider contesting a Will.
What are some of the reasons for contesting a Will?
1. Maintenance claims
A person who has been left out of a Will or unfairly provided for can make a claim for a share of a deceased person's estate.
For example, you can make a claim for a child that has not been provided for in the Will or where the deceased did not provide for a de facto partner.
2. Lack of capacity claims
A beneficiary of an earlier Will could challenge a more recent Will if the deceased person did not have the mental capacity to understand what they were signing when their Will was executed.
3. Undue influence claims
A beneficiary of an earlier Will could challenge a more recent Will if the deceased person were 'unduly influenced' to sign a Will that did not reflect their true wishes.
4. Breach of trust claims
A beneficiary under a Will or trust can apply to a court of competent jurisdiction to remove an executor or trustee who fails to administer a Will or trust properly. The beneficiary can also seek compensation if they suffer financial loss due to the executor or trustee's wrongdoing.
How can I defend a Will?
Defending a contested Will can be a challenging task if you are an executor or a beneficiary. However, most of our cases involving contested and or defended Wills settle without the need to go to Court.
Will disputes have become very common in Australia, so executors must be prepared in the event of a challenged or contested Will. If you have been appointed an executor, you must follow a formal legal process to ensure all instructions recorded in the Will are carried out. The laws which govern Wills, trusts and estates are complex and differ across states and territories, making it crucial to seek local legal expertise.
We know and understand the stress that these situations can create, and we will do everything to help you understand your rights and responsibilities and respond accordingly to the challenge.
We are here to help
Our solicitors specialise in Wills & Estates matters throughout the Central Coast, the Hunter Region and Sydney. We have the experience and expertise to guide you through the process from beginning to end to ensure your peace of mind.
If you would like assistance with your Wills & Estates Planning or wish to discuss a matter of concern to you, contact one of our Wills & Estates specialists on 1300 529 444 or fill in our contact form to arrange a free conference with a solicitor today. Contact us now! 24-hour legal advice 7 days a week
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