When a person passes away, they will either leave a valid Will or they ‘die intestate’, which means they’ve passed away without a Will. It is generally accepted that people have the right to decide how their assets are distributed upon their death (known as freedom of testation) so any change to those wishes would generally only be challenged and altered when good cause is shown.
There are a range of ways to contest a Will. Some involve a challenge to the validity of the will such claims on the basis of lack of capacity, knowledge or approval, or undue influence.
Others involve challenging the provision made within the Will such as a Testators Family Maintenance Claim. Or challenging the distrubiton of assets that sometimes may fall outisde of the Will such as superannuation and death benefit claims.
Those who can make a testators family maintenance claim and challenge the provision made in Will varies state by state but in Tasmania includes:
- Spouse or defacto partner (including same-sex couples)
- Former spouse or defacto partner (in some cirumstances)
- Child or step child
As you may expect by the list above, this can be an emotionally charged time if the wishes of the Will are being challenged. Some may feel that they have been unfairly treated by their deceased loved one, while other beneficiaries in the Will may want to protect what they’ve been allocated. Either way, it can be helpful to seek professional legal advice who are experienced in estate litigation and can guide an efficient pathway to the most beneficial and effective outcome with empathy and care.
Additionally the executor of a Will may also be the subject of a claim from a person who feels they were unfairly treated or overlooked for a significant distribution. In this case, Douglas & Collins could also represent you to defend that claim.
Douglas & Collins have the expertise to support your needs. Contact us to make an appointment and discuss your individual situation.