The loss of a loved one is almost certainly one of the hardest things for any person to go through. Besides from the grief, the immediate necessity to handle their funeral arrangements and inform friends and family is a great burden. Not only this, but dealing with all of their personal possessions according to their wishes is a painful and time-consuming process. Throughout all of this, it can be difficult to take a step back and wrap your mind around what has happened. This is even more the case in situations where the deceased’s will is not as you had expected it to be. An uneven or seemingly unfair division of assets can lead to family disputes and may even end up in court. Whilst in some cases, such contests are invalid, there are many such situations where one party has indeed been wronged by the decisions made in the will. If you are considering contesting a will, it is important that you establish the validity of your claim before going ahead with legal proceedings. This could save you from wasting money on a case that cannot be won, whilst strong cases can be fought to the fullest with the right legal advice on your side.
Valid Reasons for Contesting a Will
When it comes to contesting a will in NSW, there are two key categories. In order to successfully challenge a will, you will need firm evidence that your case falls into one of these, otherwise it is unlikely to hold up in a court of law:
- Invalidity – The first category is for cases where a will is believed to be invalid. There are a number of factors which can provide evidence against the validity of a will. These include cases where the testator was of unsound mind at the time of making the will; cases where undue influence can be proven to have had an effect on the contents of the will; cases where a will was drafted without the proper knowledge or approval of the deceased; a will that is unclear or incorrectly executed in some way; and cases of fraud, where a will was created by someone other than the deceased without their knowledge.
- Lack of Provision – The second key category that provides grounds for contest is a lack of provision. This type of claim can only be applicable to certain people who had a very close familial relationship to the deceased, including a previous or current spouse, children or other dependents. In the event that one of these people feels they have not be adequately provided for in the deceased’s will, they may be eligible to make a claim for things such as maintenance, education or other advancements in life that arguably should have been provided for.
When to Challenge a Will
If you believe that your case falls into one of the above categories, then you should speak to a lawyer as soon as possible in order to gather the relevant evidence. Taking action quickly will give you the best chance of formulating a strong case that will hold up in court.