As a general rule, when you write up your will, you are entitled to leave your estate to whomever you wish; however, occasionally, someone will come forward and contest a will and the law makes certain provisions when this happens. Under the law, a person is entitled to leave any of his or her belongings to anyone he or she wants to. If you are considering contesting a loved one’s will, there are certain things to keep in mind. You must prove to the court that you have a legitimate reason for contesting that will and you must then meet certain requirements to make it happen.
Certain Requirements Must Be Met
If you are interested in contesting someone’s will, there are a few things that you should know. The law takes seriously a deceased person’s will and generally protects the provisions within the document so not just anyone can contest a will. If your loved one leaves a bequest to charity or to a third party instead of to a spouse and/or children, it is possible under these circumstances to contest it. However, you must also meet certain requirements, including that you must have been the spouse or life partner of the deceased at the time of his or her death, a child of the deceased, a former spouse of the deceased, or someone who at one time was completely dependent upon the deceased, including a grandchild.
Of course, this is a description of who can contest a will in NSW but it does not mean that if you meet one of these requirements, you will automatically get what you want in the end. The court also looks at the reason why you want to contest the will and that essentially centres on whether or not the deceased had some type of moral obligation to provide for you. This means that they take into consideration your finances and your lifestyle and look at whether or not the deceased should have provided for you but didn’t. Once you fulfil both requirements – the eligibility and moral obligation aspects – the court then reviews your case and makes a determination based on everything that they found.
Improving Your Odds of Contesting a Will
The court always leans more towards the deceased’s wishes, but if you can prove that you are in some way related to the deceased and that this person should have provided for your education, maintenance, and advancement, you might just be successful in getting what you want. Although it may sound like a subjective process and in some ways it is just that, the courts do take everything into consideration when making their decision, which means that even if you are unsuccessful, you can know that they took the case and your request seriously.
Naturally, there are other aspects of contesting someone’s will so it is highly recommended that you speak to an attorney before making the decision to jump into this. Probate lawyers can help you understand the law and let you know what your chances are, and if they feel you have a case, they will stay by your side throughout the proceedings so that your chances of a positive outcome are increased.