Can you make a claim if you have been left out of a will completely, or treated unfairly in a will?
Will Disputes are an increasingly common situation that the Courts have to deal with.
People are living longer, and many have complex family dynamics over their lifetime, perhaps with blended families, and this can provide fertile ground for disagreement about how people are, or are not, provided for in a will.
Many people want to challenge a will, on the basis that they have been treated unfairly in a will or left out of a will completely.
There are a number of possible grounds for disputes over wills, but amongst the more obvious potential claimants are the spouse or child of a deceased person, who feel that they have not been adequately, or appropriately, provided for in a will. Sometimes they have been left out of a will completely. Sometimes they have been treated unfairly in a will (in their view).
A spouse, child or dependant can make a claim under the Succession Act alleging that adequate or appropriate provision have not been made for them in a will. They feel the will treats them unfairly. These challenges to wills are called Family Provision claims and are occurring more and more often.
A claim that the will doesn’t provide, or doesn’t provide adequately, for a person must be commenced within 9 months of the will maker’s death. Extensions of time can be given, but only in limited circumstances, and can’t be guaranteed. The only safe way is to make the claim within the time limit, and not rely on any extension being possible.
In assessing the merits of a Family Provision claim, the court is focused on what is proper and adequate provision for the person claiming, based on many factors, including their relationship with the deceased, the size of the estate, the rights and entitlements of other claimants, and their own needs and financial circumstances.
Sunshine Coast Elder Law are experts in relation to Wills Disputes and Estate Claims. If you feel you have been treated unfairly in a will or been left out of a will completely and are considering making a claim or are an executor defending against such a claim you need to contact us as soon as possible.
There are many grounds that may exist for challenging a will, and each case depends on its specific facts.
This is general advice only. The law is complex, and you should get specific advice about your personal circumstances.