Complete guide to contesting wills and inheritance, steps and "No Win No Fee" options
Have you been unfairly treated in a will?
If you feel you have been treated unfairly, you might be able to contest the Will.
Contesting a Will can be a intimidating process. Goldman make it simple, an transparent AND achieve outstanding results.
At Goldman Lawyers we successfully contest and inheritance on behalf of our clients on a no win no fee basis.
Contact one of our senior lawyers today have a discussion about your unfair treatment all if you are contesting a Will or Inheritance.
1. You believe the deceased did not have the capacity to make a will at the time they signed it.
2. You believe the deceased made the will under the influence of others.
3. You believe you are entitled to more from the estate than you received.
Who can challenge or contest a will estate or inheritance?
A person can transfer his estate (assets) to whosoever he or she wishes to, through his Will?
This freedom of disposition of an estate is only partly true.
From 1 March 2009, the New South Wales Succession Amendment (Family Provision) Act 2008 commenced its operation and the purpose of this new Act includes repealing the Family Provision Act 1982 and amending the Succession Act 2006 to ensure that adequate provision is provided to the family members of a deceased person and certain other persons from the deceased person’s estate.
People can make Family Provision claims against a Will in situations where the Will is valid but the provisions stated in the Will are unfair. In such situations, the Court can make changes in the Will or can distribute the estate in favour of those people.
Some common examples are:
- Adult children are left out of a will
- When joint family (with children) are left out of a will.
- Blended families
- Step families
- Intestate claims - no will or the will is incomplete.
What you must show for a successful challenge!
- You must demonstrate a personal connection to the deceased.
- They owed you a “moral dependence” that has been wholly or partially unfulfilled.
- You have a need for provision from the deceased’s estate.
What will the court consider?
Before making an order, the court will consider the following:
- The relationship between the applicant and the deceased person
- Any obligations or responsibilities owed by the deceased person to the applicant.
- The value and location of the deceased person's estate
- The financial circumstances of the applicant, including their current and future financial needs
- Whether the applicant is financially supported by another person
- Whether the applicant has any physical, intellectual or mental disabilities
- The applicant's age
- Any contribution made by the applicant to increase the value of the estate
- Whether the deceased person has already provided for the applicant during their lifetime or from the estate
- Whether the deceased person provided maintenance, support or assistance to the applicant
- Whether any other person is responsible to support the applicant
- The applicant's character
- Any applicable customary law if the deceased was aboriginal or torres strait islander
- Any other claims on the estate
- Any other matter the court may consider as relevant.
Time limits for contesting a will estate or inheritance
In New South Wales a claim can be brought to court within 12 months.
In Victoria and Australian Capital Territory, a will dispute claim must be brought to court within 6 months.
In Queensland, you have 9 months to bring a claim in court, but the other party must be put on notice within 6 months.
All about the legal costs?
Going to court is the most expensive means of dispute resolution. We provide our expert legal services on a no-win, no-fee basis (subject to our terms and conditions).If your claim is unsuccessful, we don’t charge a professional fee. Where there are other expenses incurred, such as the hiring of external investigators or court costs, we may agree who pays these with you depending on your claim. In many matters we also pay for these.
If the matter goes to court and you are successful, the court might order the other side to pay your legal fees.
For free over-the-phone advice or to take advantage of our free face-to-face consultation call our expert probate lawyers team today on our Free Call Number
Standard costs if you don’t use “No Win No Fee”
1. Contesting Wills
2. Making a family provision claim
The costs of contesting a will then will need to be covered upfront if you don’t choose the no win no fee option. If your case is successful, your costs may be reimbursed by the estate and if you progress to court, then if successful, the court will generally rule that the estate must pay party/party costs or ‘ordered’ costs which will usually cover about 70% of your solicitor/client costs.
You will then need to pay the rest out of your allotted share of the estate.
- The type of claim you are making and the value of the estate?
- The nature and extent of any complications surrounding your claim?
- How open the executor is to negotiating a settlement to avoid court?
The average cost to contest a ranges from $5,000 – $12,000 if the matter stays out of court. If the matter goes to court, the average cost to contest a will would typically be $20,000 – $150,000.
Costs typically will vary on a case by case basis, some factors are:
Family provision claims finalised through mediation, the average cost will be around $30,000.
However, if you end up in court, this can increase to more than $50,000 including the costs of junior barristers and more for senior barristers, if required.
Free case assessment
No Win No Fee
Goldman Lawyers offer a no win no fee service once they have assessed the merits of your case. This case assessment is free of charge and obligation. We also offer estate planning and tailored will solutions.
Getting a copy of the will?
If you need a copy of a will, contact the executor or the solicitor acting for the estate and failing that contact us to obtain the will for you and/or start proceedings.
In NSW, the following persons are entitled to inspect or be given a copy of the deceased’s will:
- Any person named or referred to in the will;
- Any person named or referred to in an earlier will as a beneficiary;
- The surviving spouse, de-facto or issue;
- The parent or guardian of the deceased;
- Any person entitled to a share if the deceased has died intestate;
- Any parent or guardian of a minor referred to in the will or who would be entitled to a share if the deceased died intestate;
- Any person/creditor who may have a claim against the deceased;
- Any person with management of the deceased’s personal estate immediately before death;
- An attorney under the deceased’s enduring power of attorney;
- Any person belonging to a class of persons prescribed by regulations.
In the event the deceased died intestate (without a will), an application for letters of administration must be made.
The usual process, timeline and our free case assessment / consultation
- For us to help you reach out to the other parties involved to try to reach an amicable settlement. If this is successful
- We will get you a deed of settlement, which is a legally enforceable document, setting out the revised terms.
- This process can usually be concluded in two to four months.
- In cases where a new settlement can’t be agreed upon, the next step would be a court summons.
- Often this prompts formal mediation and doesn’t actually require the matter to be heard in court.
- A mediated settlement takes between four and six months based on our experience.
- Matters that do end up in court take a lot longer to resolve – contesting a will can usually take up to 12 months in these circumstances, depending on the complexity of the case.
What makes Goldman lawyers different to other law firms?
- We are careful as to the clients we take on for a no win no fee option and if you are taken on by us you will be treated in a transparent and exemplary way.
- We are not a ambulance chasing or funeral chasing law firm.
- In many of the other firms, this is the majority of their business so you are just a number. They are into the business of the mass production of personal injury, now morphing into no fee claims for estate challenges.
- You will deal with a senior lawyer or a senior partner you can call at any time and who will keep you informed as to what is going on in your matter.
- We deal with many complaints from clients who have gone to the mass production sausage factory law firms and we provide a tailored approach to your personal needs. This means we don’t take on every client but the clients we do retain our provided with exceptional service and exceptional legal strategy.
Call or contact us now for a no obligation discussion with a senior partner or senior estate lawyer