The mourning period is very stressful for people who are close family and friends of the deceased. The grief is filled with a lot of turmoil, overwhelming emotions, and confusion. In this scenario, disputes like the distribution of the estate and legal processes where the will of the deceased is contested can make this time even tougher.
If the deceased has left the will, an executor will normally get a grant of probation and administer the estate as per the instructions in the will. However, if someone in the family of the deceased feels that they have not got the share that they deserved, they can contest the will in the court.
Although, when a loved one passes away, it is not the right time to cause such friction, sometimes it gets necessary to question the will for protecting one’s rights. Contesting a will is a very complicated process and you will need a solicitor if you do not know the legal process.
In such difficult situations, you must reach out to expert lawyers who have experience in estate planning and applying for probate Victoria grants. You can take free consultations with an expert lawyer at Probate Australia to know what the process of contesting a will is and also get a quote for the fees they charge for their service. They can guide you at every step and make the entire legal process easier for you.
Contesting a will – Basics
Only parents, children, stepchildren, spouse (even ex-spouse can contest provided he/she was financially maintained by the deceased right before the death), and grandchildren can contest for a will. Anyone who can legally prove that they were under the responsibility of the deceased can also contest for the will as they become direct dependents.
After the death of a loved one, you can apply to question the validity of the will either:
- Before probate has been granted:
- State laws regarding contesting a will differ in every state and you must clarify the laws that are applicable in your state.
- In general, you can contest a will within 1 year from the date of death.
- You can first try to settle the friction with the executor who might willingly change some of the clauses of the will to give you your share.
- If this does not happen, you can reach out to the court and if the court believes in your hardships, it can order to give you a portion of the estate.
- Before contesting the will, you have to first inform the executor and then lodge a legal complaint.
2. After the grant of probate has been given:
- The chances of winning this in your favor are slim once the estate distribution has already taken place.
- However, in a state like Victoria, contesting of a will can happen only after probate has been granted.
- In such as case, you can apply for a Family Maintenance claim also known as a TFM claim.
- This has to be done within 0-6 months from the date of graft of probate.
If you strongly believe that you are the victim of unfair treatment, you must contact your lawyer and fight for your rights.