Can I contest my Step-Parents Will? With a continuing rise in “non-traditional” families in Australia, there are an increasing number of step-children seeking to contest the Will of their step-parent, if they have been left out or not adequately provided for. It is often the case that the child’s natural parent died leaving their entire
Contested Wills Lawyers Newcastle, Central Coast & Maitland
If you have been left out of a Will or not fairly or adequately provided for, you may be entitled to monetary provision from the Deceased’s Estate. Despite the terms of a Will, a Court may make Orders to redistribute the assets of a Deceased Estate to include people who have been left out or not adequately provided for in the Will.
No Win No Fee
We offer a No Win No Fee service for will disputes when your case has been assessed as eligible by our Solicitors. No Win No Fee means that you only pay for our professional fees* if you are successful in your claim.
Call to speak to an experienced Estate Litigation lawyer or book a complimentary face to face meeting so that we can make a preliminary assessment of your specific circumstances. At this time we will discuss the claims process and whether or not you are eligible for our No Win No Fee service.
Family Provision Claims and Contesting Wills in NSW
Who can Contest a Will
The following people may contest a Will and make a claim for provision from an Estate despite the terms of the Will:
- the wife, husband or de facto partner of the deceased as at the date of death,
- a child (or adopted child) of the deceased,
- the ex-wife or ex-husband of the deceased,
- a grandchild of the person who was wholly or partially dependent upon the deceased at any time,
- any person who lived with the deceased at some time and who was dependent upon them to some extent at any time (this category may include step-children and foster children), and
- a person who was living with the deceased at the date of death and provided the deceased with, or for whom the deceased provided, domestic support and personal care.
A person who can establish that they fall into one or more of the above classes is described by the relevant law as an ‘eligible person‘ and may have cause to consider contesting a Will. Our Will Dispute Lawyers in Newcastle will resolutely guard and pursue your legal rights to protect, and even increase, your entitlement to an Estate.
In many cases, Contested Wills Claims are resolved without the need for extensive, or any, Court proceedings. Contact the Will Dispute Team at Delaney Roberts Family Lawyers to speak to an experienced Will Dispute Solicitor who will pursue your interests without delay.
Time Limit to Contest a Will
A person must make a claim within 12 months of the date of death (where the date of death is after 1 March 2009). If this time limit has passed, the person must seek the Court’s permission to make a claim.
If you’re considering challenging a will in Newcastle or greater NSW it is advisable to seek legal assistance from a Will Dispute lawyer sooner rather than later.
What is the process of contesting a Will?
In New South Wales, a Family Provision claim is commenced by a Summons filed with the Supreme Court of New South Wales, setting out the orders you are seeking from the Court.
Filed in support of your claim is an affidavit setting out the basis of your claim, addressing the eligibility requirements and relevant factors the Court may consider in determining the outcome of your claim. Also required to be filed and served is a Notice of Eligible Persons identifying all other persons potentially eligible to make a claim against the estate, and an affidavit which sets out the estimated costs and disbursements of the proceedings up to and including a mediation conference.
These documents are then served on the Executor or Administrator of the estate notifying them of your claim, who are then required to file certain affidavits in response. The matter is given a court date for a procedural directions hearing at which your legal representatives attend on your behalf. At this hearing, the Court sets a timetable for the provision of evidence and other relevant documentation from either party, after which a date for a mandatory mediation of the matter can be set.
Mediation requires attendance by all parties and their legal representatives to attempt to mutually negotiate a resolution of the matter. In most instances, the proceedings can be settled at a mediation without the need for either party to attend Court in person and avoiding the delays, risks, costs and emotional stresses of lengthy court proceedings.
However, if mediation proves unsuccessful, the proceedings will be listed for a final hearing before the Supreme Court, at which time a Judge will hear the evidence of each of the parties and determine whether to award the person contesting the Will a sum of money, and what that sum of money will be.
*Costs of disbursements need to be paid by the client whether the claim is successful or not.