When a person passes away, you might reasonably expect their estate to be divided up a certain way, only to find out to your surprise and dismay that their will goes against what you believe to be fair or just.
Such an occurrence is more common than you might think.
Wills and estates law in New South Wales makes certain allowances for the bereaved to challenge a will in court, although the conditions for such a challenge to be successful are limited and fairly specific.
In general, one’s will cannot be altered after one has died. However, given the right set of circumstances and the willingness to endure drawn-out legal battles, the contents of some wills can be contested and even overturned by interested parties.
Family Provision Claims
In New South Wales, a disappointed beneficiary may be able to bring a challenge to the deceased’s will if they believe that they have not been adequately provided for under the deceased’s last will.
A whole range of factors are looked at by the Court in assessing a family provision claim, including the financial circumstances of the applicant and any competing beneficiaries, as well as the nature of the relationship between the applicant and the deceased person.
Validity Of The Will
In some cases, the validity of a will can also be challenged. Some of the circumstances where the validity of a will can be contested are if the deceased person was suffering from an illness, such as dementia, at the time the will was made, or if the deceased person was unduly influenced into making the will.
If the final will is declared invalid, then the previous will that was drawn up will be applied in its place. If there is no prior will, then the rules of intestacy will apply, which means that the estate is distributed in order of priority as stipulated in the law.
As family law experts, we can help with any legal issues surrounding wills and estates. Contact us at Rafton Family Lawyers today to get help and expert advice!