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Slater and Gordon can help

We know that the death of a loved one is an emotionally challenging time and the idea of contesting a Will can seem daunting. But our team of expert Will dispute lawyers can guide you through every step of the process and help you achieve a fair outcome.

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  • Contact us for a free 15 minute consultation**

    Our experienced Will dispute lawyers can help assess the strength of your claim. It's important to get in touch with us promptly as strict time limits apply for challenging wills.

    Get in touch now
  • We offer no win no fee*

    Under the No Win – No Fee arrangement, if your claim is unsuccessful you may not need to pay any legal fees.

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What’s involved in contesting a Will?

It's essential that you contact our team ASAP to obtain legal advice about your Will dispute as there are strict timeframes governing when you can make a claim.

1
Discuss your matter in a free consultation**

Our team will contact you to understand your matter and discuss whether you have a viable claim.

2
Agree to go ahead with your claim

We're able to offer a No Win - No Fee* cost agreement in most cases related to Will disputes.

3
We’ll look after your claim

We can review the size and scope of the estate and help negotiate your best possible outcome, taking away the anxiety and worry for you.

Frequently asked questions

Contesting a Will can be a complicated matter, during a very trying time. But our team of experienced Will dispute lawyers can guide you through every step of the process and fight for what’s rightfully yours.

Once you agree for us to work with you, we will take care of the claim on your behalf.

First, we will assess if you have a viable claim and review the size and scope of the estate. We will then give notice of the claim to the Executor of the estate, inviting them to negotiate a fair outcome with us.

If negotiations don’t resolve the matter, we will then prepare court documents on your behalf to start a claim in Court. This will often lead to a Court ordered mediation between the parties, which we will prepare and attend with you.

In the unlikely event that the matter is not settled at mediation, we will then prepare for trial.

We have helped clients contest Wills for many years, and our knowledge and experience in this area ensures the process is as quick and stress-free as possible for you.

A Will contains a person’s final wishes and sets out who they want to inherit their assets after they’ve died. But in Australia, there are laws that allow eligible people to challenge a Will if they’ve been inadequately provided for, or not provided for at all.

Generally, the following groups of people will be eligible to contest a will.

  • Spouses and de facto partners
  • Children and grandchildren
  • Dependents
  • Parents (in some states and territories)

If you are planning on contesting a Will, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible, as strict time limits apply in all Australian jurisdictions. It is very difficult to pursue a claim out of time against an estate that has been distributed.

The time limits applicable varies from state to state. The state in which your claim needs to be made is determined by factors such as where any real estate owned by the deceased person is located, and where the deceased person lived permanently.

In Victoria, South Australia, the ACT and Western Australia, your claim must be made within 6 months from the date of any grant or Grant of Probate (where the deceased died with a Will) or Letters of Administration (where the deceased died without a valid Will).

In the Northern Territory, claims must be made within 12 months from the date of the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.

In Tasmania, your claim must be made no later than 3 months after the date of Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.

In Queensland and New South Wales, the time limit starts from the date of death and your claim must be made within 9 and 12 months respectively from the date of death. There is an additional requirement to give notice of your claim within 6 months from the date of death in Queensland.

If you are considering contesting a Will, there are several types of claims you can make.

A family maintenance claim: The majority of challenges to a Will are made under what is known as a testator's family maintenance legislation. In these cases, a person close to the deceased believes that they were not provided for adequately in the Will and seeks a bigger share of the deceased’s estate.

A lack of capacity claim: In this situation, a Will has been changed and the beneficiary of the earlier Will has been left out of the later version. The original beneficiary can challenge the new Will if they believe the deceased didn’t have the capacity to understand what he or she was signing.

A claim of undue influence: The beneficiary of an earlier Will can also challenge a more recent Will if they believe the deceased was ‘unduly influenced’ by another person or people to sign a Will that did not reflect their true wishes. This is one of the most difficult claims to prove when contesting a Will.

A breach of trust claim: In these claims, the beneficiary of the Will can ask the Court to remove an executor or trustee who they believe has failed at their job of administering the Will properly. The beneficiary can also seek compensation if they suffer financial losses as a result of the executor’s wrongdoing.