ESTATE DISPUTES AND LITIGATION
Disputes in relation to Wills and Estates
We can advise and assist you when there is a dispute in relation to a will or an estate, including disputes about:
Who should have the authority to administer an estate;
Whether a particular document, recording or note is a will;
The meaning of words in a will;
Whether there is an error in the will;
Whether the deceased had the requisite testamentary capacity (ie mental capacity) to make a will;
Whether the deceased was subject to fraud or undue influence when making their will;
Whether a promise made by the deceased should be fulfilled;
Whether the deceased should have provided for a particular person or provided more for them from their estate. For more information about this type of dispute, see below.
Family Provision claims
If you have been left out of a will or think you should have received more of the estate, you may be able to make a claim known as a “family provision claim.” This is a claim to receive provision, or greater provision, than you otherwise would under the Will or the laws of intestacy (where there is no will).
Only certain people (depending on their relationship to the deceased person) can make a family provision claim and the claim must be brought within the relevant time limit, unless otherwise permitted by the Court. If you are considering making a family provision claim, it is important to contact us quickly.
We can assist you with all aspects of making or defending a family provision claim, including assisting you to negotiate an agreement to end the dispute, as quickly as possible.
See our knowledge hub for more detailed information about family provision claims and case summaries.
Disputes with Executors/Administrators
Collaborative Practice for resolving disputes
Disputes with Executors/Administrators may arise for many reasons. Executors/Administrators have an obligation to administer an estate fairly, impartially, in a timely manner and in accordance with the terms of the Will of the laws of intestacy (if there is no will).
If duties are not performed properly, the Executor or Administrator can, in some circumstances, be held personally responsible for any loss to the beneficiaries of the estate. In some circumstances, they can also be replaced.
If you are unhappy with an Executor/Administrator or about how an estate is being administered, we can help.
If you are an Executor/Administrator and need some guidance with respect to your duties or to manage a dispute, please contact us for assistance.
In some instances, there is no option but to commence court proceedings to request a Court to resolve a dispute. However, where time permits and the parties to the dispute are willing, Collaborative Practice offers an alternative method of dispute resolution. Collaborative Practice involves the parties, with their respective lawyers, engaging in a number of meetings to collaborate together, to find a solution to the dispute. When necessary, the parties and their lawyers may call on independent experts, such as an accountant, a financial planner, a counsellor or other professional to assist them to communicate or to otherwise assist them together, to resolve the dispute.
Further information about Collaborative Practice can be found by following the links below: