The 5 Steps to Contesting a Will
Will disputes are more common than most people imagine, and there can be many reasons why a beneficiary might disagree with the terms of a deceased family member’s will. A person might feel that the deceased was not of sound mind when the will was written, or they might reason that a beneficiary exerted influence on the deceased at some point prior to the will being created. One might make a claim that alleges the executor has not performed their duties according to the deceased person’s wishes, and if for any reason, you are going to contest a will, here are the 5 stages you will encounter.
- Choosing a Lawyer – If a person is thinking of contesting a will in NSW, there are online legal experts who can quickly tell you if your claim has any credibility in the eyes of the law. Ideally, you would want a lawyer who is experienced in will disputes, and many will take on a claim using the “no win-no fee” rule.
- Gather Evidence – Contesting a will requires tangible evidence, which might include a written statement, detailing your relationship with the deceased and why you feel your claim is justified. If you have any supporting evidence as to why you should have received more of the estate, this would also be considered by your lawyer.
- Settlement Negotiations –If a person has a strong claim to contest a will, the other parties would more than likely agree to settlement negotiations, as it is beneficial to all concerned parties to reach a mutually agreeable conclusion without the need to bother a judge.
- Mediation – This is where your lawyer really makes a difference, as they will negotiate with the other parties on your behalf, and with most claims ending at this stage, it is important to walk away with a fair settlement. In this situation, a skilled mediator is worth their weight in gold, and the stronger the claim, the better the settlement should be.
- Court Hearings – In the event the mediation is not successful, there is no alternative but to schedule the first court hearing. This will be the time when your claim is considered by the judge, and depending on the case, it might take several sessions before a decision is made. If your lawyer has taken on your claim on a no win, no fee basis, you can feel confident that if the case does reach the insides of a courtroom, your chances of success are high.
Contesting a will can be a stressful affair at the best of times, and having an experienced lawyer in your corner will increase your chances of success. There are online solutions and a simple search should put you in touch with the right lawyer that practices in your area. At least you can discover what an expert thinks about your claim, and the initial consultation won’t cost you a thing.