When a loved one passes, his or her estate is often distributed as specified in a will, a legal document outlining a testator’s intentions regarding his properties following his or her death. The will outlines the beneficiaries of the estate, as well as the Executor of Will, oftentimes a family member or estate lawyer who has long worked with the testator or family of the deceased. One may assume that a will is a clear-cut document outlining who gets what, but there are cases in which contesting a will is a choice for some beneficiaries or non-beneficiaries. Note, however, that contesting a will and challenging a will are two very different things. Contesting a will happens when an individual believes he has been unfairly left out of a will, while challenging a will occurs when a beneficiary of a prior will or subsequent will, or intestate heirs believe that the will is invalid and should be voided entirely.

Things You Need to Know When Contesting a Will

Contesting a will is no easy feat, which is why it is recommended to enlist the services of estate lawyers in Melbourne. These estate lawyers have years of experience dealing with will disputes and the estate laws applicable to such cases. If you are interested in contesting a will, here are a few tips to get you started.

Contesting a will requires the assistance of estate lawyers in Melbourne.

Coming to a decision to contest a will is no easy feat. There will be several factors involved and discussions to be made with family members and inheritance lawyers. In fact, contesting a will shall require the services of estate lawyers in Melbourne. These estate lawyers will provide you with guidance and assistance in every step of the will contesting process. Whether it’s gathering the necessary information and documentation to support your claim or to providing advice on mediation procedures, your estate lawyer will be your partner in this challenging time.

You must have legal standing when contesting a will.

When it comes to contesting a will, there are only a few people who are eligible to file such a case. Up until 2015, Victoria was one of the most flexible states in Australia for those who were interested in contesting a will. Previously, eligible individuals making a claim were not specified. However, a newer legislation on will disputes outlines the individuals who are legible to apply for a family provision. these include the spouse or domestic partner of the testator at the time of death, a child or step-child, or adopted child of the deceased who was either under the age of 18 at the time of death of the testator, a full time student under 25 years of age, or suffering from a disability. Other individuals who can contest a will include a former spouse or former domestic partner of the deceased, adult children or stepchildren of the deceased, a grandchild, the spouse or domestic partner of a child of the deceased where that child has passed away within one year of the deceased’s death, and a person who was or had been a member of the deceased’s household.

Your claims must be valid.

How do you know if your claims against a will are valid? There are several grounds for contesting a will, all of which are accepted as valid in the court of law. For example, the lack of due execution is legal grounds for a will contest. For a will to be valid, it must be in writing and signed by the testator in the presence of at least two witnesses. As per the FT Times, the lack of testamentary capacity is another one of the valid grounds for contesting a will. It means that the testator must have the full capacity to write a will and must not have suffered from a disorder or delusion whilst writing the will. Lack of knowledge and approval is often linked to the lack of testamentary capacity, meaning that the testator was not aware of what was written in the will before he or she signed it. Undue influence is a common reason for contesting a will and it refers to the testator being subjected to force or being swayed to write a will that may unfairly affect his or her beneficiaries. Lastly, forgery is another grave reason for a will to be contested. It will require an investigation as to how the forged will came to be and who was involved in such forgery.

A will contest must be filed within the specified time period.

A decision to contest a will must not be made hastily, but you also must keep in mind that there are timelines to be followed and deadlines to be met. Note that in Melbourne, you only have 6 months from the date that a grant of probate is made to contest a will. In this case, time is of the essence, so you must have the necessary resources to build your claim. This is where estate lawyers in Melbourne can be of utmost assistance. Such inheritance lawyers are more than familiar with the deadlines and requirements involved in contesting a will, providing you with guidance every step of the way, ensuring you meet them to make your claim.

Contesting a will shall involve costs.

As with any legal case or claim, contesting a will involves certain costs. This is why you must consult with estate lawyers in Melbourne who have experience in dealing with cases like these. Inheritance lawyers are in the best position to provide advice not only about the procedures of will disputes, but the fees and costs involved.

If you are interested in contesting a will, make sure to enlist the help of inheritance lawyers who are skilled in dealing with these types of cases. Hentys Lawyers is a Melbourne-based law firm with professional estate lawyers with over 25 years of experience in will disputes. Estate lawyers at Hentys Lawyers are committed to providing effective solutions to reach the settlement you deserve, operating in a “No Win, No Fee” basis, so you get the best results possible. Visit willcontesting.com.au to know more.