Will disputes
lawyers

Will disputes are increasingly common, especially given the changing and complex nature of Australian families. A Will dispute does not need to be a battle – it’s about working with all involved to bring about an acceptable outcome. When a person makes a Will, they have the right to decide who will inherit their assets after they die. But there are also laws to protect people who receive an unfair entitlement in a Will. At Maurice Blackburn, 98% of our Will dispute cases are settled without the need to go to court.

Whether you are thinking of challenging or contesting a Will, or if you are the executor or beneficiary of a Will that is being challenged, Maurice Blackburn’s highly experienced Will disputes lawyers can assist you.  The law surrounding Will disputes is complex, and can differ significantly from state to state; so it’s important to retain a lawyer with local experience.  Maurice Blackburn is a national firm with a long and successful history of providing advice in will disputes.

If you think you have been unfairly provided for and want to challenge a Will, speak to Maurice Blackburn today. We fight for fair.

Maurice Blackburn lawyers have a long history of providing advice in Will disputes

Maurice Blackburn's lawyers will do everything they can to help you get your proper entitlement. In fact most of our cases are successfully settled without ever needing to go to court.  Our first consultation is free and it's at this point that we will tell you whether we believe your case is strong and should be pursued.   If you go ahead, we will act for you on a no win, no fee basis (conditions apply).  Time limits apply, so if you intend to dispute a Will, you should seek prompt legal advice to ensure that your entitlements are protected.

Pursue a fair outcome in your Will dispute

Expert Wills, trusts and estates solicitors with 98% of disputed will cases settled out of court.

If you've been left out of a Will or haven't been left with an adequate share of the inheritance, it's good to know that you can challenge the Will. Generally, Will dispute claims can be made by anyone who had a close and significant relationship with the deceased and who can show that a Will maker failed to adequately provide for them in the Will.  If this describes your situation, then you can contest the Will.  

Speak to Maurice Blackburn today about our history of successful cases and how we can help you dispute a will.

 

All you need to know about Will disputes

Whether you are thinking of challenging or contesting a Will, or if you are the executor or beneficiary of a Will that is being challenged, our Will disputes lawyers can assist you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are the laws the same across Australia?

Wills dispute claims are called ‘family provision claims’ in the ACT, NSW, NT, Queensland and SA; ‘testator’s family maintenance claims' in Tasmania and Victoria; and ‘inheritance claims’ in WA.

No matter what state or territory you’re in, these claims can be made by anyone who can show that a Will maker had a moral obligation towards them, and that their entitlement in a Will is not enough for their maintenance and support.

What are the time limits for contesting a Will?

Australian Capital Territory

Name of claim: Family provision claim
Time limit: 12 months from the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration

New South Wales

Name of claim: Family provision claim
Time limit: 12 months from the date of death (not the date of Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration)

Northern Territory

Name of claim: Family provision claim
Time limit: 12 months from the date of Grant of Administration

Queensland

Name of claim: Family provision claim
Time limit: 9 months from the date of death, unless an extension is granted by the court

South Australia

Name of claim: Family provision claim
Time limit: 6 months from the date of Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration

Tasmania

Name of claim: Testator's family maintenance claim
Time limit: 3 months from the date of Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration

Victoria

Name of claim: Testator's family maintenance claim
Time limit: 6 months from date of Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration

Western Australia

Name of claim: Inheritance claim
Time limit: 6 months from the date of Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration

How much does it costs to contest a Will?

At Maurice Blackburn, we represent clients on a no win, no fee basis. This means that if we don't get a result that benefits you, you will not have to pay our legal costs.

What things does the court consider in a Wills dispute?

When someone makes a Will, they have the right to leave their Estate to whomever they like. But the court also recognises that Will makers may have a responsibility to provide for other people who were not included in a Will. In determining whether you have an entitlement, the court will look at a number of factors, including:

  • the type of relationship you had with the deceased
  • how long the relationship lasted
  • if you made any contributions to the deceased's Estate
  • if the deceased made any promises to you
  • the size of the Estate,
  • the financial needs of any other people who may have a claim to the Estate

What happens when someone dies without a Will?

It is not compulsory to make a Will, and not everyone has a Will when they die. If someone dies without a Will, this is known as dying intestate, and their Estate is divided according to relevant state or territory laws. This doesn't always take into account the true nature of often complex family relationships, or any responsibility that the deceased may have had to provide for certain people. An intestate Estate is often distributed in a very different manner than the deceased would have wanted, or that the beneficiaries believe is fair.

There are two main ways the distribution of an intestate Estate can be challenged. If all of the beneficiaries can agree on a solution, a deed of family arrangement can be drawn up to change the way the Estate is distributed. This is the simplest course of action. The second way is with a testator's family maintenance claim, which is for people who believe their share is not enough for their maintenance and support.

What is probate?

Probate is the first step in the process of proving a Will and administering the Estate of a deceased person. Our firm's focus is on contesting Wills that are in dispute and we can help clients prevent a grant of probate if a Will is invalid.

What other Will services does Maurice Blackburn offer?

As well as handling Will disputes, Maurice Blackburn offers a range of other associated services. These include:

Drafting Wills

Maurice Blackburn provides a Will drafting service. This can be completed without the need to visit our Melbourne office if you are seeking a standard Will. If you're interested in finding out more, please contact us for a Will kit.

Superannuation claims

Maurice Blackburn also assists clients with superannuation policy claims. Along with contesting a Will, it may be possible to challenge a superannuation payout associated with an insurance policy owned by the person who died. You can discuss this with your lawyer during your free first consultation.

No win, no fee*

Our will dispute and estates lawyers are experienced in winning fair compensation for our clients on a no win, no fee basis.

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