A Will is a legal document which, amongst other things, allows you to choose who has the authority to deal with your estate and who receives the benefit of your assets when you die. Occasionally loved ones of the deceased find themselves unhappy with their entitlement where they believe they may have been forgotten or not adequately provided for and they may find that they have rights to challenge the deceased’s last Will and / or make claims on the estate.
Who can challenge a Will?
In WA, those that can contest a Will include family of the deceased who have some financial dependence on, or close relationship with, the deceased. This may include a spouse (or former spouse), a de facto partner (or a former de facto partner in limited circumstances), a child, a parent and, in some circumstances, a grandchild and stepchild.
Reasons to challenge a Will
Even though it is a person’s right to choose who will inherit their estate, there are situations where the law allows a Will to be contested. These situations include:
- You believe the Will-maker lacked capacity or was pressured at the date of the Will;
- A promise was made to you by the deceased for property to be given to you and this was not referred to in the Will;
- You were not adequately provided for in their Will, or not provided for at all;
- You believe a Will is fraudulent.
There are many other factors to consider other than the legislation or the current case law which regulates how and when someone can challenge a Will or a deceased estate. This includes who is allowed to challenge a Will, the size and value of the estate and whether your portion, or lack thereof, is grounds for contesting.
Time limits for contesting a Will
In accordance with the provisions of the Family Provision Act 1972 (WA), the time limit to challenge a Will is 6 months from the date of the grant of probate or letters of administration.
As a result, it is important to obtain legal advice as soon as possible as the time limits may affect your right to challenge an estate.
D’Angelo Legal has had many successes with assisting clients in challenging an estate which has been resolved either without court action being commenced or without having the parties going to trial, saving time and money. We are conscious of litigation costs and adopt a proactive and conciliatory approach, which often leads to resolution at informal conferences or mediations. In addition to achieving great results for our clients, we also save them time and money.
To see how we can help you regarding your challenge to a Will call our experienced litigation team at D’Angelo Legal today on (08) 9381 1147 for an initial and confidential appointment with no obligation to proceed or contact us via our website.