When it comes to dividing property from a deceased estate, a will can be regarded as a starting point. Whether you have grounds for contesting a will, or you are involved in a will dispute, our lawyers can offer you expert advice.
If a person dies without a will, his or her estate is divided in accordance with a statutory scheme set out in the Administration Act 1969. But even if a will exists, it is not necessarily the end of the matter. If you are considering contesting a will, we can advise you on your rights, and help you choose the best course of action to take.
There a number of statutes that can vary the distribution of a deceased estate in the will, and in some rare circumstances, it is possible to set aside a will completely.
You may have grounds for contesting a will under the following statutes:
- Property (Relationships) Act 1976 which concerns the division of property of married and de facto couples;
- Family Protection Act 1955 which allows certain classes of people to claim for further and better provision for the estate on the basis that the deceased has breached his or her moral duty to them;
- Law Reform (Testamentary Promises) Act 1949 which allows a person to enforce testamentary promises;
- Simultaneous Deaths Act 1958 which applies where two or more persons have died simultaneously (or in circumstances which give rise to a reasonable doubt as to who died first).
Estate litigation is one of our specialities. We have undertaken a significant number of cases in the Family Court and High Court acting for claimants, executors, and beneficiaries.
In many circumstances, disputes over a deceased estate could have been avoided if the deceased had taken proper advice in preparing his or her will. Is your will up to date? Talk to us today.