If you're in the process of estate planning, it's a good idea to know exactly who can dispute a will you've made.
It's your right to leave your assets to anyone you like; however, if a relative or friend thinks they've been treated unfairly in your will, an estate dispute might result.
According to the Succession Act (2006), the following people are eligible to challenge a will:
- Your wife or husband
- Your de facto partner
- Your children (including any that have been adopted)
- A former wife or husband
- A person who was at any time wholly or partly dependent on you
- Your grandchildren
- A person who was a member of your household
- A person you were living in "a close personal relationship with" at the time of your death
There are also some tricky circumstances outlined in the Succession Act (2006) that it might be worth discussing with a lawyer at Craddock Murray Neumann.
If one or more of these individuals would like to dispute a will you've made, they will need to provide the New South Wales Court with evidence that proves they deserve either a share or a larger share of your estate.
If they are successful, the wishes outlined in your will may be overruled.
The New South Wales Government states that i['s becoming more likely that your will could be contested. This is because family structures are now more complicated, and there may be a wider range of people who expect to be provided for in your will.
So, how can you make sure your will is not a the centre of a massive estate dispute?
The best thing you can do is get in touch with estate lawyers and have them guide you through the estate planning process.
Craddock Murray Neumann's team of lawyers is well versed in estate disputes, so they can offer you expert advice about common pitfalls and help you avoid them when creating your own will.
For instance, if you choose not to include one of the above-listed individuals in your will and you have a good reason for doing so, it may be worth adding a clause to your will to explain your decision.
This will give the New South Wales Court more information to base its decision on, and could prevent your wishes from being disregarded.