Estate Disputes can be very emotive as they often involve conflict between family members or other close relationships. Our legal team is here to support you through this process to achieve the best possible result for you.
Situations often arise where someone brings a claim for better provision from a deceased person’s estate – in other words, they contest the will. Such claims are also commonly referred to as “Part IV claims” or “Testator Family Maintenance claims”.
Who can challenge a will?
Under the relevant legislation (Administration and Probate Act 1958 (Vic)) there is a defined category of “eligible persons” who can make a claim against an Estate.
- Spouses or domestic partners of the Deceased at the time of death;
- Children of the Deceased (including adopted children, step-children, and people who believed they were a child of the
- Deceased for a substantial period of the life of the Deceased);
- Grandchildren of the Deceased;
- Former spouses of domestic partners of the Deceased who have had a family law claim against the Deceased;
- Registered caring partners of the Deceased;
- Spouses or domestic partners of a child of the Deceased if the child dies within one year of the Deceased’s death; and
- Any person who, at the time of death, was or was likely to become again has the Deceased not died, a member of the Deceased’s household.
- Meeting this definition, however, is the bare minimum to get through the gate to commence a challenge; it is also necessary to show dependence on the Deceased, that the Deceased had a moral duty to provide for proper maintenance and support, and that the Will fails to make adequate provision.
You may wish to contest a Will for any number of reasons including that you believe the Will is invalid or that the deceased had an obligation to provide for you and failed to adequately do so.
Types of Will or Estate Disputes can include:
- Testator’s Family Maintenance/TFM/Family Provision claims;
- Allegations of incapacity
- Allegations of undue influence/unconscionable conduct
- Allegations of forgery
- Breach of Executor’s duties
We have experience in all facets of these types of claims. We can act for the person contesting the will, for the executor of the estate or for the people who would have received the benefit of the estate if it weren’t for the claim (beneficiaries or potential beneficiaries).
If you are in a situation where a will is being or should be contested, we can assist you, advise you and fight to achieve for you the best possible result.
Estate litigation does not need to be a spiteful battle and, where possible, we will try to resolve the dispute for you out of court. Court should be a place of last resort. Unfortunately, this is not always possible and where litigation cannot be avoided, our experienced litigators are on hand to put your best case forward.
How can we help you?
- Advice and representation for executors, beneficiaries and claimants
- Alternative dispute resolution
- Deeds of Family Arrangement
- Applications to remove executor
- Executor delay
- Contesting the validity of a will
- Problems, queries or advice about a will
- All aspects of Part IV / Testator Family Maintenance Claims (provision claims)
- Probate caveat proceedings (bringing a caveat and defending)
- Court representation
- Professional Trustee & Executor Services
- NDIS Appeals Service
Our Wills and Estates lawyers have extensive experience in all matters relating to Wills and Estate Administration including Estate Disputes when sensitivity and conflict within families can occur.
If you have any questions about an Estate Dispute, your Will or would like to find out how our Wills & Estates lawyers can assist you please don’t hesitate to contact us on +61 3 9822 8588 or email our team here.