It can feel very unfair if you are left out of a will when you think you should have been included.
Not only is it a sad time losing a loved one, but if you’ve then also been excluded from an inheritance when you thought you wouldn’t be, it can be very hard to process it all.
Questions around ‘why’ and ‘how’ often come up and we’re sometimes left wondering with no answer, as the person whose will it is, has since passed away.
If you find yourself in a position where you believe you’re entitled to a part or all of an inheritance, it’s a good idea to obtain legal advice from a lawyer who specialises in this area – a Will Lawyer or an Estate Lawyer.
Before you go out finding yourself a Will or Estate Lawyer to contest a will, here’s a bit of info you can prepare yourself with.
Time Limits On Contesting Wills
Unfortunately when contesting a will, you need to act sooner rather than later. There are time limits within NSW and a ‘claim’, called a Family Provision Claim, must be made within 12 months following the deceased date of passing. Outside of this only cases with extenuating circumstances will be considered by the NSW Supreme Court.
Who Can Contest A Will
Only specific people in relation to the testator can contest their will. You need to ensure you are eligible to contest a will first and an experienced will or estate lawyer can advise you further on this.
To contest a will, a family provision claim is submitted - each case is unique and is evaluated by the Supreme Court of NSW.
Also keep in mind that contesting a will does not immediately equal a redistribution of the estate.
How Long Does It Take To Contest A Will
There is no hard and fast answer on this, but it is important to note that having an experienced estate or will lawyer working on your case can help with speeding things along. Will and estate lawyers can help to try and negotiate a settlement prior to court, which could mean a resolution in weeks and less legal costs.
It depends on the negotiation process and how willing the executors are to come to an agreement.
If the case goes to court and the parties cannot reach an agreement through mediation, the court system could take up to 18 months to resolve and finalise.
Cost of Contesting Wills
Although you may be fully entitled to part or all of an inheritance, there are still costs associated with contesting a will. Costs such as professional fees for an estate or will lawyer, legal costs, mediation fees and court hearing fees.
The cost of contesting a will really depends on the complexity of the case. If the matter is settled out of court through mediation, the average cost to contest a will is around $5,000 - $10,000.
However if the matter goes through the court system, it could cost upwards of $20,000, potentially much more.
It’s important to keep this in mind if you are considering contesting a will. This can all be discussed with an experienced will or estate lawyer, like TY Lawyers in Chatswood.
How To Contest A Will
If you are eligible to contest a will, it is done through Supreme Court of NSW. You can claim if you feel you’ve been unjustly been excluded from a will, or if you believe your bequest is inadequate. If you are successful, you’ll receive a share or a larger share of the deceased estate.
The first step in wills and estate is to have your own will written by a will and estate lawyer. That way, you give yourself the best chance to take care of your loved ones. Consider TY Lawyers in Chatswood if you need your will written.
To discuss wills and estates further, you can call TY Lawyers in Chatswood for a private discussion. We’re here to help. Call: 02 8007 0135 today.