Being left out of a will can be painful and confusing. You may feel like there’s nothing you can do, especially if the will is legally valid. However, you may have a claim on the estate even if the will is valid:
These are just two reasons why you might contest even a valid will.
Grieving a loss while contesting a will is challenging, especially if it means going against family. That’s why your first step should be to get advice, so you have clarity about your options before speaking out. A lawyer can advise you if the will might be invalid, as well as what claims you might have even if the will is valid.
There’s no point creating or inflaming a delicate situation if you might not have a claim. That’s why it’s important to get proper legal advice first.
Speed matters, too. First, there are strict time limits on making claims against estates. Second, it will be harder to recover your share of an estate that has already been distributed among the beneficiaries.
Wills might be contested for several reasons. Reasons for will disputes include:
The most common causes of will disputes are:
These may both be valid claims. That’s because a will is not always the final word on who gets how much. This can be true even when everyone agrees the will accurately reflects the deceased’s wishes.
Legally, there are some people who can’t be left out of a will, even if that’s exactly what the deceased wanted.
If you were left out of a will, whether you were dependent or not on the deceased, you may be able to make a family provision claim. That’s because the law says an estate must provide for relatives or people in a relationship with the deceased in some circumstances.
If you make this type of claim, the law will take into consideration the size of the estate, your relationship with the deceased and, most critically, your needs.
Examples of situations that might lead to a successful family provision claim include situations where:
People are often advised that a will can’t be contested by anyone who has received at least something from the estate. This is not true. The law has a view on:
The answers to both these questions depend on the individual circumstances of a case, which is why you should get legal advice about your situation.
If you are considering contesting a will, the reasons you might do so vary depending on your situation. Our lawyers are experienced with will disputes, so they can help you to navigate this difficult process with sensitivity and expertise. To find out if we could help with your particular case, please call us on 1300 286 578.