Expertise

Inheritance Claims – Contesting a Will

It is often the case that family members are left with unanswered questions and concerns about the distribution of the estate after the death of a loved one. Unfortunately, litigation over estates whether there is a valid Will or not, is becoming increasingly common.

Can I challenge a Will I think is unfair?

In short, yes. But if a person intends to challenge an unfair Will, strict time limits apply, so it is best to act sooner than later.

There are many factors to consider in reviewing the Will of a deceased family member. Initially we need to check the validity of the Will at a basic level; is it legal, was it made under duress, have all potential beneficiaries been considered etc. We also need to consider the validity and interpretation of trust deeds and the rights of trustees and beneficiaries in relation to trusts. This is a complex area of the law, and you need expert advice when deciding how to proceed.

What is estate litigation?

Estate litigation is the result of a challenge to the Will of a deceased person. Our firm not only acts on behalf of Executors and Administrators to defend the Will and Estate against claims made by beneficiaries, but we also act on behalf of aggrieved family members and beneficiaries under the Will to make claims because they have been left out of the Will or have not been given enough money from the estate for their future maintenance and support.

There are a number of ways you can challenge a Will, and often our estate litigation lawyers may be required to defend the Will, advise the Executor or Administrator on the duties and obligations when defending a contested estate, or protect the interests of beneficiaries in need. 

A Will or intestate estate (where a person dies without a valid Will) may be challenged or disputed because:

  • The Will was created when the deceased did not have the required legal and mental capacity to make a Will;
  • At the time of making the Will the deceased was unduly influenced by another person;
  • The Will is poorly drafted and the terms of the Will are unclear;
  • An eligible person makes a family provision claim because they believe they have not been provided with adequate money for their proper maintenance and support from the estate.

If you’re concerned that you have been left out of a Will or not been given what you are entitled to under a deceased estate, then you should contact a lawyer experienced in estate planning to help protect your interests.

The estate litigation lawyers at David Davis are regularly involved in assisting parties in estate litigation to provide sound advice on expectations and resolutions in these difficult matters.

If you have estate dispute concerns, contact us for a consultation at our Thornbury office.