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FAQ - Estate Disputes

In summary, a family provisions claim is a claim made against the estate by a person who considers there has not been adequate provision for their proper maintenance, education or advancement in life.

Only ‘eligible’ people can make a family provisions claim. There is a statutory deadline of 6 months after the date the grant of administration has been made for making a family provisions application.

When considering the merits of a claim, there are a number of criteria to be considered, such as the nature and duration of the relationship between the applicant and the deceased person, and their respective income, property and financial resources.

This can be a complex area of law and it is important to get some legal advice before taking any significant steps.

The categories of people who are entitled to make applications for provision out of the estate of a deceased person are partners of the deceased person, persons (other than a partner of the deceased person) who were in a domestic relationship with the deceased person for 2 or more years continuously at any time, children, stepchildren and grandchildren of the deceased, and parents of the deceased.

It is important to note there are some additional requirements for stepchildren, grandchildren and parents of the deceased to be considered ‘eligible’.

The short answer is yes.

There are a number of different reasons why a will might be challenged, such as the lack of capacity of the person who made the will at the time they made the will, invalid amendments to the will, or undue influence by a person on the will maker leading to, for example, one beneficiary receiving a greater portion of the estate.

In order to be considered a valid will, there are some formal requirements that a document needs to meet, such as being in writing and signed by the will maker and witnesses.

There is discretion for the Supreme Court to find that a document which doesn’t meet these formal requirements but seems to set out the intentions of the person who wrote it is actually their will.  In those circumstances, the document is considered an ‘informal will’.

We bill on a ‘time spent’ basis to assist you with an estate dispute.

Regrettably, disputes have the potential to be messy, complicated and expensive.  We are mindful of this when providing advice about your options moving forward and work with you to achieve the most cost effective solution where possible.

It is important to note the legal costs for an estate dispute are often considered costs of the estate and paid for by the estate.

To obtain an estimate, select the ‘Request a quote’ button on the Wills and Estates service page and submit your completed form.  Alternatively, if you would like to speak with a team member, we are happy to answer your questions and provide you with an estimate.