When someone close to you dies and you believe there’s something wrong with their will, you can dispute it. Whether there’s an error within the will or you feel you’ve been treated unfairly in it, it might be enough to turn to the court. Most of the time, wills are disputed when the person who’s written the will was suffering from a disease or was pressured into writing it. Here are four things you should know about if you’re thinking about disputing a will.
A will isn’t final and binding
The general rule is that the contents of a will are binding. This means that what happens with all of the deceased’s assets is determined by their will. However, there are exceptions to this. The court can view the will as invalid and come up with a different arrangement. This usually happens if they believe someone influenced the deceased to put them into their will or if the deceased was suffering from a disease. Also, the will can be changed if the deceased has failed to keep a promise they’ve made during their lifetime. Another reason to dispute a will is if you feel you’ve been left out if it unfairly.
The court takes everything into consideration
Above, we said that a will can be disputed and changed. If you plan to dispute a will, it might help to know what the court takes into consideration in these situations. They start from the deceased’s will and the evidence of their reasons for making the will the way they did. Also, they look at any other evidence about their intentions before death. This includes everything from their family relationships to obligations and responsibilities. Have in mind that they also consider the character/conduct of the applicant.
Timing is the key
What you probably didn’t know is that there’s a time limit for when you can dispute a will. This time limit depends on local laws in your area. The best thing you can do is get a lawyer as quickly as possible and ask them to look at your case. In NSW, you only have 1 year or 12 months to make a claim on the deceased’s will. Your safest bet is to turn to a good will dispute lawyer in Sydney and have them guide you through the process. The lawyer will they’ll whether it’s a winnable dispute and advise you on your next move. They will also file the dispute and deal with other drawn-out processes for you.
Each case is determined on its merits
One of the key things to know is that the court determines each case on its merits. In other words, there are no rules that apply to each case in the same way. For example, the relationship between the deceased and the applicant is just one of the factors the court considers. Even if the applicant was estranged from their parents, they may still have the right to dispute the will. In case they’re financially worse than their siblings or someone else in the will, they can dispute it. This is another reason to have a good lawyer on your side when disputing a will.
The bottom line
People dispute wills more often than it seems. If you feel like you’ve been left out of one unfairly or there’s another reason why it might be invalid, you have the right to dispute it. Wills and everything that surrounds them can be daunting if you’re unfamiliar with the process. That’s why it’s important to hire a lawyer you can trust and listen to their advice.