Disputing a Will

Welcome to Rafton Family Lawyers

Highly Qualified and Experienced Sydney Family Lawyers

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We specialise in helping families settle will disputes. Our advice is personalised so that you can have clarity on even the most complicated matter.

Do you have concerns about a loved ones will?

Are you worried that it was made under duress or the influence of others?

These are common reasons for will disputes and situations that we advise families on regularly.

In legal terms, an estate is defined as the net sum of a person at any time during their life or at the time of their death. It includes all of a persons money, real estate, shares and assets.

When a person dies, their legal will outlines who they wish to inherit their estate. It is important to have a will so that you can choose what happens with the sum of your life’s monetary assets.

Sometimes people believe they have been left out of or not provided for adequate in a will or that the will is outdated and no longer relevant. When this is the case, a family provisions claim can be launched to contest the will.

Any eligible person can make a claim to the court contesting the deceased’s will based on what they believe their claim is to the estate and why they believe the will to be unfair or invalid. We recommend that you seek advice from one of our family law specialists if you are in this situation.

Common reasons for disputing a will include:

Concerns that the deceased changed their will when they didn’t have the capacity to manage their own affairs

  • The will was forged, subject to fraud or made under duress
  • The will was never signed
  • The will was not witnessed

Each state in Australia has different laws determining who is eligible to dispute a will.

The Succession Act 2006 (NSW), Chapter 3 (Family Provision) describes an eligible person as:

  • The spouse of the deceased at the time of their death (including de facto and same-sex partners)
  • Biological and adopted children
  • Children conceived via IVF treatment
  • Stepchildren who can prove that they were dependent on the deceased
  • Grandchildren who can prove their dependency on the deceased went beyond gifts and occasional support
  • A former spouse
  • Any person who was dependent on the deceased or shared the same household as them
  • Any person who had a significant personal relationship with the deceased at the time the deceased died

If you are considering disputing a will we recommend that you make an appointment with one of our family law specialists as soon as possible. Claims to contest or dispute a will must be made within one year of the death of the deceased unless you were unaware of the death, unaware of this time frame or threatened in relation to the will.

We will help you to assess your current circumstances and define if the will in question leaves you at a significant disadvantage. From here, we will advise you on whether your claim has a good chance of success and how to best move forward.

Our offices are located in Sydney CBD, Richmond, Parramatta, St Clair and Glenmore Park. Please call us to arrange a consultation on 02 4578 5611.

Read our plain English handbooks

These fact sheets are designed to provide an overview of the relevant issues and systems so that you have a better understanding of the process.

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