Have You Been Left Out of a Will?
Have you been left out of a Will and believe you have been unfairly treated?
This is an issue that can cause major disputes within families.
The Succession Act 2006 has provisions designed to protect people in these circumstances.
If you believe that you have been excluded from a Will unfairly, you will need to consider whether you are an eligible person to contest an estate.
Under Section 57 of the Succession Act 2009 an ‘eligible person’ is considered to be someone who was a wife or husband at the time of death of the deceased person, a de facto of the deceased, a child of the deceased, a former wife or husband of the deceased or a person who was wholly or partially financially dependent on the deceased.
However, one must consider that not all Wills have to be fair (i.e. they do not have to be equally shared between children).
You do not have the right to contest a Will merely because you have been left a smaller sum of money than another party to the Will.
There are many reasons why people choose to leave differing proportions of their estate to different people, and the Court will take these into account.
So anyone considering challenging a Will must have ample reason for why they consider the Will to be unfair.
When a Court is considering a claim, it will decide whether adequate provision has been made for the claimant’s proper maintenance, education or advancement in life.
The Court will also take into consideration the claimant’s relationship with the deceased including the nature and duration of the relationship, the responsibilities owed by the deceased to that person, any contributions made by the applicant for the improvement of the deceased’s personal welfare whilst living and the character and conduct of the person making the claim.
There are many factors to consider before the provisions of a Will can be changed, so it is important to seek advice to see if you have a sound legal basis for making a challenge.