Brisbane Contested Wills Lawyers
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Armstrong Legal’s Brisbane Contested Wills lawyers specialise in estate litigation. They assist clients who are in the difficult position of considering challenging or contesting the will of a loved one who has recently passed away. In Queensland, wills are governed by the Succession Act 1981.
The Succession Act sets out the requirements of a valid will. These include the minimum age for making a will (which is 18) and the form in which a will must be made. A will must be in written form and it must be signed by the testator. In order for a will to be valid the testator must have testamentary capacity. This means that they must be in the right mental state to make a will. If there is evidence that the testator was not of sound mind when they made the will, the will may be found to be invalid.
When a family member passes away, the people close to them will often have expectations as to what portion of the estate they are going to receive. Unfortunately, these expectations are not always met and this can lead to a person contesting the will.
It is important to remember that contesting a will is different from challenging a will.
Challenging a Will in Brisbane
When a person challenges a will, they are arguing that the will is invalid. This may be because the will was not signed, because the testator lacked testamentary capacity or because the will was forged. It may also because the will was made when a person was exercising undue influence over the testator.
If you are considering challenging a will, you need to give notice of your intentions to the executor. You must do this in writing within six months of the will maker’s death. A will can be challenged on any of the following grounds.
When a will is challenged on the basis of undue influence, someone is arguing that the testator was pressured to make a will dividing their estate in a particular way. This commonly occurs when a family member or someone else manipulates, threatens, bribes or flatters the will maker to favour them when they make their will.
Undue influence can be very hard to prove and generally requires the claimant to demonstrate that the final will was not representative of the true desires of the deceased.
For advice about challenging a will on this ground please contact our Brisbane contested estates lawyers.
Lack of Testamentary Capacity
In Queensland Wwlls can also be challenged on the basis that the testator lacked testamentary capacity. A person may lack testamentary capacity because they are intellectually disabled, have a mental illness or are affected by alcohol, drugs or medication. If a will is challenged on this ground, evidence will need to be adduced as to the mental state of the testator at the time they made the will. If the court is satisfied that the testator did not understand the implications of drafting the document, it may alter or set aside the will.
A lawyer from Armstrong Legal’s Brisbane Contested Wills team can give you advice specific to your situation. They are available from 7am until midnight on 1300 038 223.
Forgery and Fraud
Wills may also be challenged on the basis of forgery and fraud. This challenge can be made when there are concerns that the will may have been falsified, signed by someone other than the deceased, or altered after it was signed.
If you require legal advice about challenging a will on the basis of alleged fraud, contact our Brisbane contested estates lawyers.
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Contesting a Will
A person who contests a will is disputing the provisions of the will on the basis of unfairness. This may be because they were left out of the will entirely or because they feel they were inadequately provided for and will suffer hardship as a result.
A person wanting to contest a will must do so within nine months of the testator’s death.
Who can Contest a Will in Brisbane?
Queensland’s Succession Act 1981 states that only a spouse, de facto partner, child or other dependant of the deceased person can contest a Will.
Types of Claims on Wills
There are various types of claims you can bring about. However, the most common is the Family Provision Claim.
Family Provision Claim
To bring about a Family Provision Claim, you need to be an eligible person as set out in the Succession Act 1981. An eligible person can make a claim on the basis that they were left out of the will entirely or were inadequately provided for.
How can our Brisbane Contested Estates Lawyers Help?
Our Brisbane Contested Estates Lawyers offer a sensitive, professional and experienced legal service to clients in their time of need. Armstrong Legal’s Contested Estates lawyers will provide thorough advice so that you understand all your options and can make the best decisions for your situation. They will negotiate on your behalf and if the matter cannot be resolved, they will advocate for you in court.
Give Armstrong Legal a call today on 1300 038 223 or send us an email.