There are few things more important to the upkeep of one’s estate than a proper will. While the circumstances which would lead to the enactment of one’s will can seem a grim proposition, it is nevertheless critical to draw up a will which is clear and fair. Failure to do so can lead to a contested will. If you or a loved one feel as if a will as it stands is unfair to you, you may be able to contest the will. That said, there are limits and conditions to this. Here, then, is a quick overview of the conditions for contesting a will in New South Wales.
On “Grossly Unfair” Wills
When it comes to settling the question of who can contest a will in NSW, one must first turn his or her attention to what constitutes a fair vs. unfair will in the first place. While Australian law allows individuals to create a will with their own sense as to what is fair and equitable in the dissemination of their estate, there still may be instances which can constitute “gross unfairness,” which may be grounds for contest. You will want to seek out legal counsel to see whether or not the will in question contains provisions which might constitute “gross unfairness.” It is also worth noting that different territories of Australia have different laws regarding wills, so you will want to be sure to look into New South Wales law on the matter specifically.
Candidates for Contesting a Will
The question as to who can contest a will is as important as it is complex. Nearly every scenario regarding who can or cannot contest the conditions of a will is predicated upon a series of legal qualifications, each of which may in turn be themselves open to interpretation or interrogation in a court of law. That said, it should be noted that family members often have an easier time having their cases heard when it comes to the question of contesting a will. Notable here are instances wherein a family member who has not spoken to another family member is left out of a will. As a result of that familial connection, a court may be more willing to hear your contestation of a will. This may be the case especially in instances wherein it is the other party who is responsible for the separation, particularly if the reason for that separation was wrongdoing on the part of that latter party, such as instances of abuse. A court will look at these instances and judge if and how they impacted the fairness of a will. On the other hand, those with non-familial connections, or instances wherein a breach was the result of one’s own action or initiative, may have a harder time contesting a will. Each of these circumstances are generalisations, and the particulars of your case may vary.
No matter what your ultimate legal standing is regarding your ability to contest a will, one thing is for certain. You will not be able to contest a will successfully without proper legal assistance, so be sure to consult a lawyer about your best options regarding your specific case.