Writing a will is completely different from drawing up a straightforward contract. There are no legal constraints determining what’s fair or not; this is one of the main reasons why will agreements are often challenged in the court of law. In most cases, a will can lead to a significantly unfair scenario where a valued member of the family is left without any benefits. However, before you decide to file a challenge or contest the will, it’s important to have all relevant information at your disposal. Under the terms of the Family Provision Act, the following individuals can file a claim:
- De facto partners.
In specific situations, grandparents, former de facto partners, and former spouses can also contest the will. If any individual makes a claim, the courts will decide if there’s adequate provision in the will for the claimant.
On What Grounds Can the Will be Challenged?
Contesting a will in NSW is pretty easy. Whereas different Australian State territories have their own laws and regulations pertaining to will agreements, the grounds on which a will can be challenged are mostly identical from place to place. Common reasons for which you can challenge a will include, but aren’t limited to, the following:
- The will was not executed in a manner that was intended by the deceased;
- Valuable members of the family were not adequately provided for in the deceased’s will;
- The will that was executed was not the final Will that was created by the deceased;
- The maker of the will was under undue influence or coercion at the time of the drawing of the will;
- The maker of the will was not of sound mind at the time of making the will;
- Evidence is available, which shows that the will was tampered with.
If a will is well-written, clearly defined, and mentions specific details for the provision of the assets, it’s unlikely that a challenge for such a will is going to succeed. Courts try not to interfere with the deceased’s wishes, especially if they are well-constructed and precisely mentioned. However, a challenge is more likely to succeed if the will is ambiguous and doesn’t provide clear details. The main objective of the court is to carry out the wishes of the maker of the will in the manner that they were intended.
Contesting a will can prove to be a pretty stressful experience. Certain members of the family who have been well-rewarded will frown upon you as you prepare to challenge the court of law. Because of the personal and sensitive nature of such cases, it’s imperative that you find an experienced lawyer to handle the case. Challenging a will generally puts a strain on personal relationships and can also lead to a host of other issues, especially if other parties decide to defend the will. It’s best to consult with an experienced attorney to find out what they have to say before proceeding.