If I leave him something, can he still contest my will?

Posted on January 8th, 2018

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The changing nature of families over recent years has presented a new concern for people in attempting to leave their estate to those they wish. With an ever increasing number of blended families and more and more competing interests of family members who may not have a close relationship with each other, people are finding it difficult to have their testamentary intentions become a reality.

A family provision claim is where someone claims they should have been left more of a deceased person’s estate than what they were left. There are only certain classes of people who are eligible to make a family provision claim, however the law has evolved over time to broaden the types of eligible persons. 

You often hear people say things like “I have left him $X, so he can’t contest my will”. This statement is incorrect. By simply leaving someone part of your estate, you aren’t preventing them from being eligible to bring a family provision claim. The essence of a family provision claim is that more provision should have been made, whether that means something at all (if nothing was left to them) or more of the estate (where something was left to them).

The reality is that without a Supreme Court order, there is no way to prevent an eligible person from bringing a claim. So long as they satisfy the definition of an eligible person, they will be able to bring a claim. There are, however, strategies which may be put in place to minimise the chances of a claim being made.

It is extremely important you are properly advised about potential family provision claims, the potential costs involved in defending a claim if it is made and whether there are any options in minimising the chances of a family provision claim. This will allow you to be informed about the implications of your intentions and what may occur after your death.

Lana Black, Solicitor at Mullane & Lindsay Solicitors, NewcastleLana Black is a Solicitor at Mullane & Lindsay Solicitors and practices extensively in estate planning and administration. If you require any assistance in this area please contact Lana Black to arrange a consultation or contact our Newcastle office.

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