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Our will solicitors and estate planning lawyers can help contest a will

Contesting a will involves challenging the validity of a will in court, typically on grounds that the document does not reflect the true intentions of the deceased or was not legally executed. The process may involve proving that the will was made under duress, coercion, or undue influence, that the testator lacked the mental capacity to understand the implications of the will, or that the will was fraudulently altered. Contesting a will can be a complex legal process that often requires detailed investigation and experienced legal representation.

In NSW, to contest a will, a family provision claim must be filed with the court within 12 months of the date of death. Only an eligible person, such as an immediate family member, former husband or wife, or de facto partner, can make such a claim. If a formal contest to the will or a claim to the estate is made, distribution of any assets must wait until this is resolved by the court.

Gallagher Solicitors & Conveyancers, based in Grafton with services across New South Wales, specialises in wills and estate planning law. With extensive experience in handling will disputes, our team is ready to provide expert legal advice and representation in contesting wills. We understand the sensitivity required in these matters and are committed to delivering compassionate legal services to ensure that the rights and wishes of all parties are respected and upheld.

Who Can Contest A Will?

The parties most commonly involved in contesting a will include immediate family members and dependents who believe they have been unfairly treated in the will’s provisions. This may include children, spouses, or other close relatives who were financially dependent on the deceased and were left out or inadequately provided for in the will. Beneficiaries who suspect that the will does not accurately reflect the deceased’s intentions due to manipulation or error may also seek to contest the will.

Why Contest a Will?

Legal grounds for contesting a will

Contesting a will in New South Wales can be based on several legal grounds, each necessitating specific types of evidence and strategic legal approaches to build a strong case.

Each of these grounds requires a thoughtful and expert approach to ensure that all evidence is correctly interpreted and presented in accordance with legal standards. Gallagher Solicitors & Conveyancers specialises in these complex aspects of estate law.

Undue Influence 

This is significant ground for contestation. It involves proving that the will was created under excessive pressure from another individual, which overpowered the testator’s free will. This typically occurs when the influencer benefits significantly from the will at the expense of other rightful heirs or the clear previous intentions of the testator.

Lack of Capacity 

This is another common ground for contesting a will. This argument focuses on demonstrating that at the time of the will’s creation, the testator did not fully understand the nature of the will-making process or the consequences of their decisions. This might be due to mental disabilities, severe illness, or cognitive impairments that affect the testator’s ability to make informed decisions. Medical testimony and historical health records are important pieces of evidence in substantiating such claims.

Improper Execution 

Improper means the will does not adhere to the formalities required by law. In New South Wales, a will must be properly signed by the testator and witnessed by at least two individuals who are not beneficiaries of the will. Failure to meet these requirements can render a will invalid. This ground is often accompanied by evidence such as witness testimonies or forensic analysis to demonstrate the physical condition of the will and the circumstances under which it was signed.

Why Choose Gallagher Solicitors & Conveyancers

Proven Expertise

Gallagher Solicitors & Conveyancers has a standing track record in handling will disputes. Our proven expertise in the field is demonstrated by our history of successfully resolving complex cases, whether they reach the courtroom or are settled through mediation. Our firm specialises in estate law, making us a trusted name across New South Wales for anyone facing disputes over a will.

Personalised Service

At Gallagher Solicitors & Conveyancers, we understand that contesting a will is often about more than just legal rights; it’s about personal relationships and the grief of losing a loved one. That’s why we commit to providing personalised, compassionate legal services, tailored to the specific needs and circumstances of each client. We take the time to listen to your story, understand your objectives, and craft strategies that align with your personal situation and legal goals.

Comprehensive Support

Going through the process of contesting a will can be daunting. Gallagher Solicitors & Conveyancers offers support and guidance every step of the way. From initial consultations and gathering evidence to representing you in court or negotiating settlements, our team is dedicated to supporting you throughout the entire process. We ensure that you are well-informed and confident in your legal standing, providing peace of mind during a challenging time.

Contact Will Dispute Lawyers Today

If you believe a will does not reflect the true intentions of the deceased, or if you feel you have been unfairly left out, contact Gallagher Solicitors & Conveyancers today. Our experienced team of Will Dispute Lawyers is ready to help you assess your case and explore your legal options.

Frequently asked questions

In most circumstances, we can work around what is more convenient for you. We are generally able to work with clients over the phone, via email, or zoom, but if you’d like to meet in person, we can set that up too. Obviously, if there is paperwork to sign we will work with you to arrange an accessible location.

During this 15 minute consultation, we will typically discuss your legal matter and why it is you’ve come to us. We can outline a suggested approach, associated costs to move forward, and the next steps should you choose to continue with our services.

Without meeting or understanding the complexity of your situation, it’s difficult to provide an unmitigated cost. After discussions, once we understand the circumstances of your legal matter, we will be able to give you an estimate of the range of costs you may incur.

We do offer fee arrangements (such as instalments) and can discuss these with you once we establish a way forward. We are always prepared to work with you to come up with a mutually acceptable arrangement.

No, we do not bill in six-minute intervals. We can usually provide a fixed fee quote once we establish the associated works involved in your matter.

We will always be upfront with how long processes take and aim to work as quickly as possible, particularly when you are working to a tight timeframe.

Just remember that some steps in the timeline are out of our hands, so be sure to take that into account.

To prepare for your first appointment, we’ll ask you to send us any documents relating to your matter, as well as any notes that might help us to understand the background a little better.

By the end of your appointment, both of us should know whether or not we can help in your particular matter and the pathway forward. We can also discuss any fees and/or charges to expect to resolve your issue.

Our flat fee for basic general conveyancing is $1,500+GST, plus any disbursements that might come up in that particular matter. Complicated matters may incur a higher fee. Again, we will always be upfront with the charges you can expect.

A Will is an important legal document that outlines your wishes, including how you want your assets distributed, when you die. A well drafted Will may prevent potential family disagreements and reduce the risk of claims against your estate. They can also provide instruction for the appointment of guardians for children under 18 years old, so it’s important your document is up to date and reviewed every couple of years.

Yes, bring your marriage certificate to your meeting. Know that before applying for a divorce, you need to be separated for at least 12 months, but importantly, you do not need to be divorced to obtain a property settlement. We can guide you through that process.

Yes, we can witness your documents by prior appointment.

Any other questions? Just ask!

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