Deceased Estates

Dealing with a deceased estate is one of the more difficult challenges in life. From complex paper work and family disputes, they’re the last things you want to deal with when you’re grieving the loss of someone important in your life.

We will assist you by:

  • Interpreting the Will of the deceased;
  • Advising in regard to family and testamentary trusts where applicable;
  • Advising executors and trustees in regard to their duties and rights;
  • Informing relevant service providers and organisations to ascertain the assets and liabilities of the estate;
  • Applying for Probate of the Will in the Supreme Court or, if there is no Will, Advising on intestacy and applying for Letters of Administration;
  • Collecting estate financial assets including superannuation, bank funds, shares, outstanding loans, and insurance payouts;
  • Selling or transferring estate property and assets to beneficiaries;
  • Paying estate debts including mortgages, funeral costs, and testamentary expenses;
  • Distributing bequests and inheritances to beneficiaries;
  • Organising information for estate tax returns.

Challenging a Will

If you’ve been left out of a Will, or have been unfairly treated in terms of the amount of your inheritance you may be able to make a claim against the estate. In most circumstances the estate will be responsible for the payment of legal fees associated with making a claim.

Who can dispute a Will?

The Succession Act 2006 outlines who may be entitled to claim on the deceased’s estate and includes people who had a relationship with the deceased such as:

  • The wife or husband of the deceased person;
  • A person with whom the deceased person was living in a de facto relationship at the time of their death;
  • A child of the deceased person;
  • A former wife or husband of the deceased person;
  • A person who was, at any particular time, wholly or partly dependent on the deceased person, and at any time a member of the same household as the deceased person;
  • A grandchild who was at any particular time wholly or partly dependent on the deceased person;
  • A person with whom the deceased person was living in a close personal relationship at the deceased person’s death.

This is a very general guide only so please contact us to discuss your particular circumstances.

Is there a time limit?

Yes, there is. You have 12 months from the date of their death to make a claim. In certain circumstances, in many circumstances we are able to obtain an extension of the time limit so please contact us to discuss your situation.

What if I don’t believe the deceased was influenced by others or didn’t have capacity to make a will?

You can challenge a Will if you believe that the person lacked the mental capacity to make a Will. Often the deceased is alert and has not been diagnosed with illness such as dementia, however still may lack capacity to execute a legally binding will. The legal test is complex and each circumstance requires an assessment based on the facts surrounding the making of the will and the deceased’s level of understanding.

You can also challenge a Will if you believe that undue influence was brought to bear upon the deceased or if there was fraud involved.

What we can do for you?

We will assess your claim and discuss the particular circumstances of your case. We will then gather evidence, prepare documents and make an offer to the executors. Many claims are settled through negotiation at this stage. If the matter isn’t resolved then we can lodge documents with the court to initiate proceedings. We can still negotiate and in some cases mediation will be required by the court.

Failing all else, we will proceed to a court hearing wherein the evidence will be presented and the judge will make a decision.

We can help at every stage of contesting or challenging a Will it’s important to have sound, experienced legal advice.

We have the skills to negotiate on your behalf but if this is not possible we will fight in court on your behalf.