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Everything That You Need to Know About Contesting a Will

Do not simply sit around and brood if a will leaves you out of its provisions; instead, fight the will! You are within your legal rights to challenge the will; however, there are several things you need to be aware of before you do so. This guide provides everything you need to know about contesting a will, including what the process entails, how to hire a lawyer, how much it costs, and what to expect along the way, so that you can contest your will with confidence, knowing that you have properly prepared yourself and obtained the necessary information.

What Is A Will?

A will is a legal document that specifies the distribution of an individual’s property after death. A lawyer who specialises in wills and estates may assist you in drafting or challenging the will of a deceased loved one. Knowing what goes into making a will and why some wills are disputed in court might help you understand your options if a disagreement arises.

Where Should You Begin?

You shouldn’t rush into contesting a will. It’s important to pinpoint precisely what it is that you believe is wrong with your loved one’s will before proceeding. Solicitors that specialise in wills and estate planning can advise you on whether or not you have a case to challenge a will and guide you through the first processes. After all, contesting a will immediately may not be practical or even appropriate in certain cases.

Recognise What Is Going On

The preferences of a deceased person who has left a will are not automatically carried out upon their death; certain procedures must be followed. To begin, if they haven’t already, they’ll need to go through probate to establish a will. An executor is appointed to collect all of the deceased person’s assets (including real estate), pay off any outstanding debts, and then distribute any residual funds or property in accordance with their will.

To challenge the will, you must be familiar with its contents. The will specifies who will get what. But what exactly does it entail in terms of property? When all is said and done, how much will each individual or organisation get? Finally, how did you know the departed? More privileges would be accorded to you if you were married to this person rather than merely acquainted with them.

Determine if There Are Valid Reasons to Oppose the Will

While the specific legal reasons for challenging a will vary from state to state, fraud, undue influence, and incapacity to make a valid will are the most common challenges. A knowledgeable wills and estate planning lawyer can assist you if you need to know if any of these exceptions apply to your estate.

Is The Will Legal?

These five questions will help you determine whether or not a will is legitimate under the law:

  1. Was this the deceased person’s last will and testament?
  2. Have they completed this will in accordance with all applicable laws?
  3. When signing this document, did they have the mental ability to make a will?
  4. Did they make changes to this agreement after signing it that didn’t affect who got what?
  5. Have they been subjected to any unjust external pressures while creating this document?

Learn How Contests Operate

Knowing the steps to take after making the decision to challenge a will is crucial. What are the next steps if you win? When may someone challenge your last will and testament? How long do court proceedings like this often last? While it’s true that everyone has some fundamental doubts regarding competitions, it’s crucial to understand how typical scenarios like these play out in the actual world so you can decide whether and when a contest is good for you. In this article, we’ll address some of the concerns you may have had.

In Australia, How Long Do You Have to Dispute a Will?

In Australia, the statute of limitations for contesting a will varies from one jurisdiction to the next.

  • In the courts of NSW and ACT, a claim must be filed within 12 months after the deceased’s date of death.
  • To file a claim in court in Victoria, you have six months from the day probate was granted.
  • In Queensland, a claimant has six months from the date of death to inform the executor of a claim, and another three months to file the claim with the court.
  • For claims in the Northern Territory, you have a year from the date of probate to submit your paperwork.
  • In Western Australia, you have six months from the date of the award of probate to file a claim in court.
  • Tasmania After the probate is granted, you only have three months to submit a claim in court.

Take Notes and Evaluate What It Implies for Family Members

Will contests tend to be highly charged and stressful situations for everyone involved? For example, if you and your siblings are disputing your parent’s will, you may have disagreements. Further, the potential for conflict increases if you do win the lawsuit and acquire parental assets that others believe are rightfully theirs. Think carefully about the impact that challenging a will might have on your loved ones before you do so.

Consider the Expenses and Financial Risk

Contesting a will is a hassle for everyone concerned because of how long it might take and how much money it would cost. Potential inheritance might be spent on legal fees if you’re not cautious. If you dispute a will and lose, you will likely be responsible for paying all related fees and legal expenses out of your own money.

Costs might reach $2,000 or more if you decide to challenge your father’s will in court. If your challenge is unsuccessful, you may also be required to repay any funds your relatives granted you while probate was pending.

Conclusion

People may challenge a will for a variety of reasons. The lack of a will or other testamentary instructions usually accounts for this, though.

A person who has disputed a will should be aware of a few things before appearing in court. There is a lot of work involved in contesting a will. It might be particularly challenging when dealing with a complex estate. But before you begin, you should know what you’re in for.

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