Contesting a Will
Contesting a Will can be a hard decision. When someone close to
you dies, it is always a difficult time. It can be even more
upsetting to discover that you have not been left a fair
inheritance. This is when Maurice Blackburn's expert lawyers can
help you lodge a claim to dispute a Will. Information on this page
relates to the Wills dispute services Maurice Blackburn offers
clients in Victoria, NSW, the ACT, QLD and WA.
The law recognises that a person making a Will has the right to
deal with their estate as they wish. However, there are also laws
to protect people to whom the deceased had a moral responsibility.
In certain circumstances, the law can be used to intervene to
ensure that those people are fairly provided for, even if they have
been left out of the Will.
If you have been left out of a Will, or you feel that the Will
unfairly provides for you, you may be able to contest the Will
- you were dependent on the deceased
- your share of the estate is not adequate for your maintenance
- your relationship with the deceased only began after the last
Will was made
- the Will does not provide for the partner or children in
another marriage or de facto relationship
- you believe that the Will is grossly unfair
- you can show that the Willmaker was not in a sound state of
mind when they made a Will
- you can show that the Willmaker was unduly influenced by one or
more of the beneficiaries, or
- the Will is unclear.
If someone close to you dies without a leaving a Will, you may
also be able to make a claim to ensure that you get a fair share of
There is no fixed rule about who can and who can't challenge a
Will in Australia. You must have had a close relationship with the
deceased, but that does not mean you have to have been related.
The time limits for contesting a Will vary from state to
Victoria and Western Australia
In Victoria, generally claims against an estate must be
commenced within six months of the date of the grant of
New South Wales/ACT
In New South Wales and the ACT, generally claims against an
estate must be commenced withing 12 months of the date of
In South Australia, generally claims against an estate must be
served upon the Executor of the Estate within six months of the
date of the grant of probate.
In Tasmania, generally claims against an estate must be
commenced within three months of the date of the grant of
In Queensland, generally claims against an estate must be
commenced within nine months of the date of death, though the court
may at its discretion hear and determine an application although a
grant of probate has not been made.
Time limits apply to these applications and you should get legal
advice. You should notify the Executor (the person or solicitor
administering the Will) within six months of the death of the
deceased and you should start legal action within nine months of
the death of the deceased unless the court grants an extension.
In the Northern Territory, generally claims against an estate
must be commenced within 12 months of the date of the grant of
Want to know more?
Watch Maurice Blackburn client
Kathy Kolk tell her story of contesting her mother's Will.
stories from some people we have helped get a fair
Read more on how we will
handle your case, including acting for you on a 'no win - no
If you want to find out how to contest a Will, contact one of our
Will disputes lawyers.