Contesting the will
The most important part is case preparation. This is because, without compiling the necessary evidence, a claim will not have the support it needs to succeed.
Case preparation involves determining the relevant legal issues, and compiling relevant evidence to support your claim. The sooner that evidence is compiled, the more tools we have to negotiate with, and the more likely we are to achieve an early settlement, saving you time and money.
Relevant evidence for a contested wills claim may include:
- Details about the nature of your relationship with the deceased;
- Details about the testamentary capacity of the deceased at the time of making the will;
- Evidence of any financial support you have received from the deceased;
- Details about the deceased’s will or estate;
- Details about your own financial situation, including assets and any debts;
- Details about the beneficiaries of the will, including their financial situation;
- Details about your expectations from the will; and
- Contact details of the executor/executrix and the estate’s lawyers.
Our lawyers will work with you to compile all of the relevant evidence and build a well-prepared case in order to ensure your claim has the best chance of success.
Once we’ve compiled evidence to ensure success, we will attempt to negotiate with the beneficiaries named in the will, via the executor or adminstrator, without commencing proceedings in court. Where the beneficiaries agree to change the terms of the will privately, the parties will enter into what is called a Deed of Family Arrangement.
Our contested wills lawyers have a wealth of experience negotiating on behalf of their clients, keeping in mind at all times their best interests and achieving the best possible solution.
Where Family Provision proceedings are commenced in NSW, mediation between the parties is generally compulsory. The majority of contested wills cases will either settle at mediation, or shortly thereafter. Mediation involves negotiation between the parties, with the assistance of a 3rd party mediator. The role of the mediator is to help the parties come to an agreement. Mediation has many advantages, including reducing legal costs, finding out what the other side has to offer, and reducing the stress involved in attending court hearings.
Going to Court
In some cases, agreement cannot be reached in negotiation or mediation, and the dispute will proceed to court. Our lawyers will be there to help guide you through the court process, ensuring you understand how your case is progressing at all times.
We will ensure that you have the strongest case possible before attending court.