It is common knowledge that before you pass away, you should write a final testament. This document will essentially divide up your belongings, financial assets and estate between your family and those you are close to. But what happens if someone you love passes away and their final testament is either incomplete or misses you out?
In this situation you will need to enlist the help from one of the best will dispute lawyers. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about contesting a final testament.
What does it mean to contest a final testament?
Any Will dispute lawyer should be able to tell you exactly what it means if you wish to contest a final testament. Essentially, you are able to contest a valid final testament if you receive an inadequate portion. It is also possible to contest a final testament if the person who has passed away did not write a final testament. If this happens, it is known as someone dying “intestate”.
If the court were to find that the final testament to be in your favor, one of two things will occur: the provisions will be varied or they will order the complete redistribution of the estate.
Who is able to contest a final testament?
Not everyone is able to question the validity or fairness of a final testament. If you believe it to be unfair and wish to get in contact with a will dispute lawyer, you will need to fit into one of these categories:
- Former spouse
- Defacto partner
- Step children
- Members of the deceased household who were dependent on the deceased
- People in close personal relationships with the deceased who lived with them
If you fit into one of these categories and believe the final testament unfairly leaves you out or does not give you the correct proportion, you are eligible to contest it. However, if you are not considered to be an eligible person, you are not entitled to contest a final testament.
What factors are taken into consideration when a final testament contested?
When you first visit a will dispute lawyer, they should explain to you that there are a range of factors that are taken into consideration when it comes to these types of cases. In order to ensure that the final testament is fair, and that the deceased persons wishes are still followed, the court will carefully look at several things.
Some of the factors that a court, and a will dispute lawyer will pay attention to are:
- If the provisions, you have received are adequate for your advancement in life
- The duration and nature of your relationship with the deceased
- Your financial situation and earning capability
- The financial situation of those you live with
- Contributions and help you gave the deceased person throughout their life (both financial and non-financial)
- The size of the estate left by the deceased
- Any other claims made by eligible people in regards to the estate
Do I need a Will dispute lawyer?
Whenever you hire a professional, you have to be prepared to pay for their services, and in some cases this can be costly. This is why some people find themselves wondering if they even need a will dispute lawyer. As tempting as it may be to try to contest a final testament without the help of an expert legal professional, it is neither wise nor likely to result in the outcome you desire.
As mentioned above, there is a lot to be considered and gone over when it comes to contesting a final testament and the Court will need to be certain that if they are changing provisions all parts of the estate are going to the rightful people. If you want to achieve the best outcome for you, and your family, it is highly recommended that you enlist the help of a qualified will dispute lawyer.