In Australia, the right of persons to write a will is recognised without imposing constraints that may force a definition of fairness upon such individuals. Persons making a will therefore have a right to write a will that may not fit the normal concept of fairness to all potential dependants, heirs, and family members. This right unfortunately can lead to situations that the law considers “grossly unfair” to certain parties who may be valuable members of the deceased’s family. In such situations, some states’ legislation provides for a process in which parties can legally contest a will that is grossly unfair. Lawyers provide services to parties who can demonstrate reasonable cause for contesting a will.
Why Would Contesting a Will Be Allowed?
A person may wish to change a will that has been previously written so that it better reflects any wishes that have changed over time, whilst extenuating circumstances may have prevented the person from making changes. Perhaps changes in relationships with family members or new relationships justify a change to a person’s will, giving such a person the desire to make modifications to an existing will or write a new will. However, for a variety of reasons, such as health or lack of mental capacity, changes are not always made. In such cases, the most recent wishes and interests of a deceased person may not be accurately reflected in a will, resulting in a situation that can be considered grossly unfair to parties who would otherwise have a claim to part of a deceased’s estate. In such cases, the laws of states such as NSW and QLD provide for the opportunity of interested parties to contest a will.
How to Contest a Will
In situations that are considered grossly unfair to relatives, dependants, heirs, or life partners of a deceased person, contesting a will is possible with legal services offered by firms such as GMP Contesting a Will Lawyers. Lawyers work with their clients to identify and evaluate any extenuating circumstances such as the financial needs of family members or dependants who were supported financially by the deceased either fully or in part, and whether or not the deceased had sufficient mental capacity to fully understand what he or she was doing at the time the will was drafted. There are sometimes cases in which the executor of a will is unduly influenced by another person at the time of writing the will, causing the will to be an inaccurate reflection of the deceased’s wishes and resulting in a basis for an undue influence claim. All of these factors need to be evaluated by an experienced team of lawyers to determine the viability of a party’s case for contesting a will.
Financing Legal Costs
Many lawyers offer an option for contesting parties to utilise legal services on a contingency fee basis, which provides for the payment of legal fees only in the case of a successful outcome. This practice, called “no win, no fee”, allows access to costly legal services that would not otherwise be available to parties whose financial situations do not allow for the payment of costly legal expenses.