Burgess Thomson Lawyers

Contested Estate Claims

Wills & Estate Planning

Newcastle's Legal experts in contested estate claims

Sometimes the validity of a Will or the terms of a Will may be challenged. The Executor will be responsible for dealing with this. It can be a difficult time as the person making the claim under the estate will likely be known to the Executor and could be a close relative. An Executor is responsible for arguing that the Will and its terms are valid and fair. Many claims are settled through negotiation and mediation between the parties and their legal representatives. Some claims proceed to Court. The Court may amend the Will to vary the distribution of the estate to compensate someone who was not previously made a beneficiary.

At Burgess Thomson we can assist you in defending a Will and your appointment as Executor. We will negotiate with other parties on your behalf and ensure the wishes of the deceased person are defended. We can assist you in gathering evidence from doctors, family members and lawyers who assisted the deceased person in preparing the Will.


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How can a Will be challenged?

The validity of a Will may be challenged on grounds including the person making the will did not have the necessary mental capacity, was under undue influence or was subject to fraud or forgery. Someone could also bring a Family Provision Claim arguing that the Will is unfair and that he or she should have been a beneficiary.

How long does it take to defend a Will?

The time required depends on the complexity of the case. If a settlement is reached outside of Court, it could still take 12 months to gain the Court’s approval. If an agreement cannot be reached, it could take 12 months to 2 years for a court hearing to be finalised.

Do I have to use my own money?

If you have done nothing wrong as an Executor before or during the proceedings, usually the legal costs will be paid from the estate. The costs may also have to paid by the person challenging the Will if they lose. The legal costs involved can vary depending on the complexity of the case.

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