The last Will and Testament is a legal document which determines the benefactors of the deceased person’s property, and who will be responsible for the settling of the estate. If someone seeks to invalidate a deceased person’s Will, a Will contest is enacted.
Where do you stand in terms of the law?
First and foremost, determine if you have any legal standing as not everyone can contest a Will. To be eligible to contest a Will, you must be:
- The deceased person’s spouse
- The deceased person’s child and/or
- The deceased person’s dependent.
Entities, such as banks, that can obtain standing must be a beneficiary or a fiduciary in the deceased’s last Will to be able to contest a Will.
When is the right time to contest a Will?
Timing is essential if you wish to contest a Will and filing to contest must be done within nine months of the date of death. The estate of the deceased must be finalised, and the payment of final expenses must be settled promptly. After the time limitation has been passed, a person or entity is unable to contest a Will as they are time-barred. In very limited circumstances, the Court may grant an extension of this time limit.
On what grounds can you contest the Will?
Aside from the above factors, the grounds to contest a Will must be sufficient. The most common grounds to contest a Will consist of:
- the deceased person’s wishes are not clearly set out in the Will;
- the deceased person lacked the mental capacity to make a will;
- the deceased person’ was unduly influenced into making a will, or
- you have a financial need for provision from the estate
If you are considering contesting a Will, it is important that you understand where you stand, the best timing, and what grounds you are approaching on. If you need advice on how to contest a will, get in touch with our team at Cairns Wills and Estate Lawyers.