There are times when a will is being read out and you find the contents very unexpected, being left out of a will or having assets unfairly distributed is a common occurrence in Australia. If you’ve been left out of a will or you’ve been the recipient of an uneven distribution of assets, you don’t have to stand there and do nothing. You can challenge the document by hiring an experienced lawyer to speak on your behalf.
Assess the Cost
Before you decide to contact a lawyer, you must first stand back and take note of the whole situation. Only certain kinds of people can contest a will, if you weren’t included in the original document it may be difficult to question the validity of the will. Furthermore, if you are not a family member of the deceased, you’ll have little chance of winning in court or through a mediator. If the testator discussed leaving you part of their estate or financial holdings, write down the amount and see whether it is worth fighting over. Legal fees alone can be expensive, and if you’re just arguing over a small amount, there isn’t much point in hiring a lawyer.
Request a Copy
The first thing you should do is request a copy of the will, check to see whether it had been recently changed or has your stake always been the same. Whoever creates the will has the final say in who receives their assets once they pass away. But, if you believe that the testator was under duress, or reduced mental capacity, you can contest the validity of the document. You have a certain amount of time to contest a will once you find out you’ve been left short or left out, contesting a will with lawyers who have plenty of experience in this field is the next step you should take.
Meet with a Lawyer
Once you’ve gotten hold of a copy of the will, the next stage is to schedule a meeting with a lawyer. Show them the will and explain why you wish to contest the document. You must have a valid reason for contesting, if a testator didn’t include you in the original will, you can’t just challenge the article without a legitimate reason.
A good lawyer will be able to tell you whether you have a winnable case, if they feel you have grounds to contest, they’ll take steps to file a claim. They may also be able to act as a mediator, settling the dispute outside of court.
It can be difficult to contest a will if someone has left you out or left you short. But, if you feel like you have legitimate grounds to contest, then the best thing to do is contact an experienced family lawyer. They’ll know how to approach the situation, offering first-class guidance and support throughout the whole procedure.