Grounds on Which You Can Challenge a Will

June 7, 2024    Estate Planning Lawyers Perth
Grounds on Which You Can Challenge a Will

A will helps divide an individual’s assets in a way they wish after their death. But someone might contest the will if they feel that the testator robbed them off their rights. A person challenging a will needs to reach out to the Supreme Court. But they must have solid grounds to contest a will. Jump into this article to understand what are the valid circumstances under which you can consider challenging a will.

Relevant Questions to Ask Before Contesting a Will

Before you are thinking of challenging someone’s will, you should ask the following questions to yourself:

  • Are you an eligible person according to the jurisdiction’s succession legislation?
  • Has the testator deprived you of fair provisions?
  • Do you have a legitimate financial requirement to contest a will?
  • Are you contesting the will within the specified time limit of the jurisdiction?

Will Contesting Eligibility

A random person can’t turn up and contest a testator’s will. The individual needs to be eligible to challenge the grounds. The eligibility of the claimant is often different across jurisdictions. But some common principles are present across all states. For instance, de facto partners and spouses are eligible claimants. Dependent children are also allowed to contest a will.

Inadequate Provision Grounds

One can contest a will if the testator fails to provide for them. But the challenger must be able to establish that they were deserving of some provisions in the testator’s will. Usually, these grounds can be validated through kinship or dependence. Kinship means that the challenger has to be the spouse or children of the testator. If it’s on the basis of dependence, the claimant must be able to show that the testator provided them with financial support in the past.

At times, the testator might have added some provisions for the claimant in the will. But the claimant can contest if they feel that the provisions weren’t adequate. The testator is liable to provide according to the size of their estate and the financial requirements of the challenger.

Maybe a testator passed away with a sizeable estate. But they only gave a minimal part of it to a dependent child. In that case, the dependent heir has strong grounds for challenging a will.

Financial Aid Grounds

A claimant can think about contesting if they have the right to receive financial support from the testator. However, the claimant will have to show that they need monetary assistance from the testator. They will have to submit proof of their income and other assets to the court.

Anyone who can pay off their bills and maintain a rich lifestyle can’t contest a will on the basis of financial hardships. But, a claimant with monetary distress is eligible. They have a stronger right to claim if they have been dependent on the deceased person’s assets for managing their affairs.

Another relevant scenario is when the claimant has a condition that prevents them from earning or increases their living expenses. It might stem from a physical or mental disability that demonstrates the contestor’s need for financial assistance.

However the court has to be convinced that the claimant has greater needs than that of the existing beneficiaries. The claim won’t be valid if a redistribution of assets would affect the other beneficiaries. A claim on the basis of financial need is only valid when the other beneficiaries won’t be affected if a provision is made for the claimant in the will.

Time Limits to Keep in Mind

Having strong reasons to challenge a will isn’t enough. A claimant must do it within a proper timeframe set by the legislation. This time limit differs across the various jurisdictions in Australia. In Western Australia, people get six months after the probate to challenge a will. Once this time limit is over, you might be able to make claims if you have solid reasons for making a late application.

Ending Note

With accurate wills challenging grounds, a claimant can reach the Supreme Court for legal support. But the process of contesting wills can be a little complicated. If you want to go through it seamlessly and receive justice, you should get in touch with expert estate planning lawyers.

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