Disputing a will under the Succession Act 2006

Date: Jun 13, 2013

Under the Succession Act 2006 (NSW), the relations or dependants of a deceased person who feel that they have been dealt with unfairly may be able to dispute a will.

This will could have left you without proper provision or none at all, or there might not have been a will in the first place. Whatever the situation, you might be able to make a claim under the Succession Act.

This claim would involve asking the court to allocate some part of the deceased person's estate to you.

The provisions outlined in the Succession Act are slightly different to those found in the Family Provision Act 1982, and apply to the estates of people who died after March 1, 2009.

When writing a will, everyone has the right to give their assets away however and to whomever they choose.

Chapter Three of the Succession Act does not take this right away. Rather, it is a means by which the court can decide to provide for a relation or dependant from a deceased person's estate when it feels that individual has not been treated fairly.

Not all relations and dependants are eligible to challenge a will. If you are a child, former spouse or member of the deceased person's household, you may be able to make a claim.

Similarly, if you are a spouse of the deceased person, you could also be eligible. This term includes de facto spouses, as well as anyone (no matter their gender) who was living in a domestic relationship with the deceased person when they passed away.

If you were in a de facto relationship, things can get a little complicated. The court will have to determine this by taking a number of circumstances into account, such as the duration of your relationship.

There are also a few other factors you will need to take into consideration before you make an application under the Succession Act.

One of these is that you must make this application within 12 months of the death, unless you are given longer by special permission of the court. The size of the deceased person's estate may also play a role in your claim's chances for success.

If you feel you have not been properly provided for and would like to dispute a will, contact Craddock Murray Neumann today.

Our team of family lawyers are well-versed in estate disputes, and will do everything we can to help you navigate this complex area of the law.