A Will can be challenged if there is suspicion that it does not reflect the intention of the person who made the Will. A family member who is in financial need can also apply to the Court to receive some (or some more) of the deceased person's estate.
Disputes also often arise when there is no Will.
How can you avoid a dispute?
The best way to avoid a dispute is to have a legally drafted Will that clearly states your intentions, and to review your Will regularly to ensure that it is up to date. If we prepare a Will for you then we can advise you on how to minimise the possibility of your Will being challenged or your estate being distributed other than how you intend.
When are Wills normally challenged?
Wills are often challenged by a spouse (including a domestic partner) or children who feel that they were not properly provided for in the Will. This commonly happens when there are several family members with competing interests such as a new spouse and a child from a previous relationship. Some Wills are challenged when it is alleged that undue pressure was applied to the person who made the Will or that they did not have the mental capacity to make the Will when they did.
What happens when Wills are challenged?
Whatever the origin of the dispute our first step is to get a copy of the Will and to make an assessment about the likelihood of the claim being successful. We try to resolve these disputes quickly and cost effectively, by negotiation. If that isn't possible we have the skills and experience to take the claim to Court. We can also take action to make sure that the assets in the estate are protected while the dispute is being resolved.
When must a claim be made?
A claim must be made within 6 months of Probate being granted. We recommend that you get legal advice as soon as possible after the dispute arises.
For more information about estate disputes, watch this television news story featuring expert comment from TGB's Rosemary Caruso: Click here