You web browser may not be properly supported. To use this site and all its features we recommend using the latest versions of Chrome, Safari or Firefox


If a person feels they have either been completely left out of a Will – or unfairly accounted for – there are a number of legal options which may help.

In Australia, the law allows people who feel they have been unfairly or inadequately provided for to make a claim for a larger share of an estate. You can contest a Will if you feel you have been inadequately provided for or you were left out altogether.

A person may choose to contest a Will for being unfair in the following situations:

  • They were estranged from their parent at the time of death. The estranged relationship may have been brought about by the parent’s ill treatment.
  • They gave up employment to nurse for their ill spouse or de facto partner or parent, and may not receive an appropriate compensation for his/her sacrifice.
  • They suffer from a disability, and their family member and carer has not accounted for their additional needs or the fact they are unable to care for themselves.

What happens if the deceased did not leave a Will?

When a person passes away without a Will, laws made by the government known as ‘rules of intestacy’ are used to decide how a deceased person’s estate should be distributed.

Under the ‘rules of intestacy’ a large portion of the deceased person’s estate is usually allocated to their husband or wife. This often means others who were dependant on the deceased are unfairly provided for or left out altogether. Fortunately, the law does allow Wills to be contested and altered regardless of whether the deceased left one or not.

What the Court will look at

Regardless of the situation, the courts will change the distribution of the estate after taking into consideration the following:

  • The closeness of the relationship with the deceased
  • The needs of the applicant relative to the other beneficiaries
  • Any special relationship
  • If there was an obligation on the deceased to provide for the applicant

Time limits

If you want to contest a Will, we strongly recommend that you seek prompt legal advice to ensure that your entitlements are fully protected. Time limits apply.

The contents of this blog post are considered accurate as at the date of publication. However the applicable laws may be subject to change, thereby affecting the accuracy of the article. The information contained in this blog post is of a general nature only and is not specific to anyone’s personal circumstances. Please seek legal advice before acting on any of the information contained in this post.

Thank you for your feedback.

Related blog posts

Estate Planning
Bob Hawke’s daughter challenges will for larger piece of his estate

Just two months after former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke passed away, it has been revealed his daughter is preparing to sue his second wife over her share of the will. According to media reports this week, Mr Hawke left each of his children $750,000 through his will. But it is also alleged he left the rest of his estate to his second wife. Now, Mr Hawke’s daughter is gearing up for a legal battle to claim a share of her father’s estate. While everyone has a right to make a will leaving their estate to whomever they chose, wills may be challenged once a person has passed away. This legal option is made available generally to family members to ensure that those in need of...

Gettyimages 72381782 Resized Blog
Estate Planning
Avoiding 'Cat Fights' in Estate Litigation

With Karl Lagerfeld’s cat set to inherit a fortune, we are reminded of the need to be cautious to avoid “cat fights” in estate litigation. When the news of Karl Lagerfeld’s death broke, thoughts soon turned to the artistic designer’s beloved cat, Choupette. Choupette is said to have two personal maids, be fed from silver dishes and enjoy a luxurious grooming regime. It comes with no surprise that Lagerfeld described Choupette as a "rich girl" and "heiress" in interviews. While the contents of Lagerfeld’s Will has not yet been revealed to the public, Vogue estimates that the estate is worth over $380 million. It has been rumored for a number of years that Choupette is set to...

Rich Cat Resized For Blog
Estate Planning
Do you need Testamentary Discretionary Trusts? The what, why, who, how

What is the best way to provide for your partner, spouse, children or loved ones when you die? The answer may be a Testamentary Discretionary Trust (TDT). TDTs can offer significant advantages for beneficiaries and can last for generations. Trusts are a structure for management and distribution of assets. There are four main roles in a trust, including the: A Testamentary Discretionary Trust is a trust set up by your Will. TDTs are a valuable estate planning tool used to maximise flexibility, protect beneficiaries and minimise tax implications. They are especially useful where you have a vulnerable beneficiary who has a disability, is at risk of financial stressors such as a family...

Signing Contractblog

We're here to help. Make an enquiry now.

If you have a question, want some more information or would just like to speak to someone, make an enquiry now and our Wills team will be in touch with you as soon as possible.

Call us on 1800 444 141