We understand that the first step is always the hardest. Contesting a Will or challenging a Will can often be a very emotional and stressful process for everyone involved. We've helped thousands of clients just like you overcome this hurdle and move on with their life by doing our best to take the stress of organising legalities out of the equation, to give our clients the time they need to focus on dealing with the loss of a family member.
We'd like the opportunity to help you and in doing so, would ensure that our hard work, knowledge and experience will achieve the best possible outcome for you and your family.
To take the first give our Contested Wills & Estates Team a call or send us a message using the form on the bottom of this page.
Your free appraisal will allow us to better understand your situation so we can determine the best course of action to take. We do appreciate that it may be daunting to discuss such a sensitive matter, which is why we give our clients the option of:
Please choose the option that you feel most comfortable with.
See Also: What is the free appraisal?
If you already have answers to these questions and would like to speed up the process, feel free to prepare them in advance of the free appraisal.
After your free appraisal we will need to determine if you have a good claim. A good 'Will Dispute' claim is one that we believe has a very high probability of success. If we determine that you do not have a good Family Provision Claim we will advise on the reasons why (in plain English) and will offer alternative avenues for you to pursue (if there are any available).
Every claim is different and needs to be properly assessed by an experienced solicitor. The following is meant to be a guideline only:
If we believe you have a good claim and you wish to proceed we will need to contact the Executor/s. This contact is necessary to notify them of your claim.
Once the Executors have been notified, it's not uncommon for the claim to be resolved at this early stage, depending on the strength of the claim.
At this stage of the Will Dispute process we will usually begin preparing your evidence by creating a series of documents. Once the evidence has been collated and we have a complete understanding of the situation and accurate knowledge pertaining to the size of the deceased's estate, we will make an offer to the other parties involved.
Our experience and knowledge in contested Will cases means we prepare evidence and make offers in a way that is designed to try and get the matter resolved at this stage of the process, to avoid going to Court. This saves a lot of stress, time and money for all parties involved.
In the majority of contested Will cases there is no need to go to Court because the matter is typically resolved during Step 4. This is because the Court requires the parties involved to attempt to settle their Will dispute before going to Court.
However, there are some cases where going to Court is unfortunately unavoidable. In these situations it helps to have an experienced legal team behind you who has successfully resolved similar cases before.
This step involves us lodging documents and going to Court to notify them of your Family Provision Claim. You do not need to attend Court during this process, however you may choose to do so. We typically lodge these documents for you and act on your behalf.
Agreement is where you and the other side resolve your claim by making offers. We act for you to try and broker a deal with the other side. For example, the executor might offer you $200,000 to give up your claim.
If you accept such an offer then a contract is drawn up so that you can receive any amounts you have accepted. This means that you can get your entitlement without needing to go to Court.
If you are contesting a will, mediation is compulsory. Mediation is where a neutral person (the mediator) works with us and the other party to help us reach a solution.
As your legal professional it is our role to provide you with advice about the mediation process and provide legal advice during the mediation. We also accompany you and may speak for you during this process.
If you and the other party reach a resolution at mediation you will not need to go to court. In our experience approximately 90% of all contesting wills cases settle either at or before mediation.
See Also: Mediation
If your claim does not settle at mediation you will need to have a hearing. At the hearing it is our role, as your legal professionals, to present evidence for you and run your case. The other party will do the same.
At a Court hearing the Judge will listen to your Will dispute case and the other side's case. The Judge will make a decision as to how much you should get from the estate.
Adrian Corbould is a Law Society Accredited Specialist in Wills & Estates Law. For more than 15 years he has helped hundreds of clients in contested estate matters. His tenacity and experience make him one of the most sought after Will Contest Lawyers in New South Wales (NSW).
Adrian is an Accredited Specialist within the Contested Wills & Estates Team. In certain circumstances, the team operates on a 'No Win, No Fee' basis. If you'd like to discuss your circumstances with a member of the team, call us and ask for a Free Appraisal.
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