Anyone who believes that they should have been provided for in a will and has missed out, or has been left with something but believes it to be an unreasonably small amount, may be able to challenge the will.
These days it is not just immediate family members who may challenge a will; the list of potential claimants is extensive and essentially includes anyone who believes they can demonstrate that the deceased had a duty to provide for them. This means that in addition to direct family members, claimants may include ex spouses, people who have been wholly or partly dependent on the deceased, including housekeepers and neighbours and grandchildren of the deceased.
You will need a lawyer to apply – the process can be difficult and you should only entrust it to lawyers who you are satisfied have a track record of success in this area.
In order to succeed with an application it will be necessary to prove:
1. Your relationship to the deceased.
2. Why you believe you are entitled to a share or larger a share of the property.
3. Why you believe the will (or if there is no will, the law) does not provide well enough for you.
It is important to be aware that strict time limits apply to the making of applications – application must be made within six months of the grant of probate of the will, or if the deceased did not leave a will, within six months of the grant of letters of administration. If you are concerned that you have not been properly provided for in a will, it is most important that you contact a lawyer immediately.
Even though it is necessary to apply to the court before the time limit expires many cases do not actually go to hearing and can be resolved at mediation. Again, it is important that this process be entrusted only to experienced advisers, as once a matter is resolved, final orders will be agreed to and usually filed with the court.
Whether a matter settles at mediation or goes to a court hearing, the types of issues that are usually taken into account include:
· How changes to the will could affect other people in the will.
· The value of the estate.
· The ages of the surviving dependents.
· The relationship of the deceased to other dependents and the party bringing the
· The needs of other dependents and those of the applicant.
· The way the applicant acted towards the deceased and their relationship in general.
The material displayed on this page is intended free information only. If you have a legal problem, you should consult Nevett Ford Lawyers.