A deceased person’s will is very important as it holds the last wishes of a loved one. It usually goes into detail about how assets are distributed and which party gets what, sparking claims for those benefits and estate. However, there can be times when a deceased person may have made an unclear or unfair legacy, arising the needs for contesting.
The rules in Queensland are pretty explicit that friends with no other primary or secondary connections with a person who’s passed away are unable to make a claim or contest a will. There are different ways to work around that and still get involved, though. Here’s what you need to know.
Check If You’re an Eligible Claimant
Although people who have been solely friends cannot make claims or contest a will, there may be some other categories wherein they would classify as an eligible claimant. If you’re a friend who happens to qualify for anything in the list below, you are considered an eligible claimant under Queensland law.
- Spouse. A spouse is someone to whom the deceased had been married, considered under the law as a husband, wife or de facto partner. A spouse can also refer to a friend who has been in a registered relationship with the deceased under the Relationships Act.
- Descendant. A descendant is a child of the deceased. This isn’t solely exclusive to the deceased’s biological children, as it also encompasses stepchildren, adopted children and the like.
- Dependent. A dependent could be other family relatives of the deceased, usually the parents. However, the chosen guardian of the deceased’s children is also recognised as a dependent under law.
Should you be an eligible claimant, you gain the rights to inherit from the deceased and request financial support through the Family Provision Application. You also get the rights to contest a will when desired. If you’re in need of legal assistance on how to approach this moving forward, don’t hesitate to get in touch with an experienced lawyer.
Consider the Limits to Contesting
Even as friends are considered eligible claimants who can contest the will, they will still have limits in making the case. Time is a huge factor, as claimants are only given six months after the deceased’s death date to make a notice.
There can be special cases where claimants are given an extension, but it’s very likely for friends to be given one. Therefore, making a claim or contesting a will should be done with haste in court.
Ensure a Bequest for a Friend
If a friend cannot be an eligible claimant under law, the only way they may receive benefits is if the deceased had made a bequest for them. A bequest or legacy can be a property or sum of money that has been promised to the friend in their written will.
That friend may receive that bequest as a whole, but it’s also subject to redistribution and reconsideration in court. This is usually the case if that friend is already a big beneficiary or if another claimant contests the bequest.
In summary, it is possible for a friend to get the rights to become a claimant and contest a will under certain circumstances. If you need help with any legal matters, speak with an experienced lawyer about your options.
Looking for wills and estate lawyers in Springfield Lakes, QLD? Springfield Legals is a law firm that specialises in family law and property law, business conveyancing, wills and estate and more. Get in touch with us today!