Are You Thinking of Challenging a Will?
Even though a person is free to decide who inherits their assets after they die a Will can still be contested. There is a process for contesting a Will in Victoria. In Victoria there are laws to protect people who have been unfairly left out of a will or been left with little. These circumstances can provide grounds for challenging a will.
In Victoria there are laws to protect people who have been unfairly left out of a will or been left with little. These circumstances can provide grounds for challenging a will.
Who Can Contest a Will?
In the past a will could be contested by neighbors, friends and acquaintances That has now changed. You must be an eligible person. There are now four groups of people who potentially can challenge a Will, they can be:
- A spouse or domestic partner
- A child, step child or grandchild
- A former spouse or domestic partner
- A registered carer
Apart from claims where a person believes they were not fairly treated by a will maker there are three other areas in which a will can be challenged. They are:
1. Lack of capacity
If the Will maker lacked capacity you may be able to challenge the Will. This is particularly so if you were named as a beneficiary in a previous version of a Will, but were removed from a later version.
2. Undue influence
If you believe the Will-maker was pressured into making a Will, leaving you out of the will or leaving you less than the will maker should have then it can be argued the will maker was ‘unduly influenced’ by a person or people to sign a new will.
3. Breach of Trust
A beneficiary of a Will can have an executor removed if the beneficiary can show the executor was not doing their job fairly and properly.
How long do you have to challenge or contest a Will in Victoria
If people have been left out or not treated fairly the time limit to contest a Will is 6 months from the date probate has been granted. Read more about time limits relating to challenging a will here.
A claim may be made beyond the 6-month period. However, approval must be obtained from the Supreme Court. It is up to the person making the claim to show that the estate would not be prejudiced in bringing a claim out of time and the reasons for the delay in making their claim.
If you are challenging a Will because of a lack of capacity or undue influence a claim must be made before probate is granted.
We Can Help Challenge a Will in Victoria
If you are thinking of making a claim or are not sure whether you are eligible to make a claim, you should act immediately. We can assist you with contesting a will in Victoria. Our wills and probate lawyers in Melbourne have successfully represented people who have been unfairly treated which means we have the experience and expertise to assess your case and advise of the best strategy.