A will is a written testament that contains the testator’s final wishes after their death, making it one of the most important documents that include distributing the deceased person’s estate, assets, and more to the chosen beneficiaries.
Unfortunately, movies often depict wills as something that anyone can challenge, but Australia’s legal principles state that only limited relations can contest the distribution of assets said in the will. Being a beneficiary, you can contest a will and request to change the terms to something more agreeable, but it’s a long-drawn process that involves plenty of scrutiny.
Who Can Contest a Will?
Under Australian law, a beneficiary is anyone who has close relations to the writer of the will — from a spouse, de facto or registered partner, and the deceased’s children. There are exceptions to the rule, but it varies depending on the state. Some territories don’t accept siblings of the deceased as an eligible person unless they are marked as a dependent.
Some states also allow grandchildren to have an automatic standing in the will, while others don’t acknowledge grandchildren as eligible to contest. People who are financially dependent on the testator can also contest a will, with some jurisdictions accepting a former spouse to take a stand.
What Are Factors Involved in Contesting a Will?
The primary reason behind contesting a will is often due to dissatisfaction with the testator’s provision. This means the eligible beneficiary may not feel like they are given an adequate allocation of the estate, assets, and more, though it can be tricky to determine since it’s often subjective.
In that regard, the court primarily focuses on relevant factors such as the claimant’s relationship, financial situation, and even previous promises or agreements made with the deceased. However, all beneficiaries have a time limit since contesting a will is only acceptable before six months since the date of the Grant of Probate.
The Bottom Line: Who Can Contest a Will?
Not everyone can freely contest a will since it only involves interested persons, and it’s still a complex matter to push through even as an eligible challenger. If you’re entitled to contest a will and need help with your claim, working with a professional lawyer is crucial since will contest cases can be complicated and highly technical.
Contesting a will also touches on legal aspects such as probate, estate planning, and proper interpretation of the will, all of which can be nearly impossible to navigate on your own. If you want to ensure the court rules in your favour, then working with a Will and Estate lawyer is a must!
How Can Springfield Legals Help Your Case?
If you’re looking for the best will and estate lawyer in Australia specialising in contesting a will, succession planning, family law, and more, our expert Lawyers at Springfield Legals help get you through this legal hurdle. We also guarantee quality service by a “no win, no fee” policy for our will contest cases, so get in touch with us today and see what we can do for you!