One of the most common ways for a Will or deceased estate to be contested is through a Family Provision Application. It is therefore important for anyone making a Will to keep in mind that the Court is allowed to intervene where a certain person is excluded from a Will. If a family member feels they have been excluded, they can bring a Family Provision Application and “challenge” the Will.
The following people are entitled to make a claim if they feel they have not been adequately provided for:
However, just because a person is eligible to make a family provision application does not necessarily mean that they will be successful in their claim.
The legal test is found in the case of Singer v Berghouse (No. 2) (1994) 68 ALJR 653. In this case it was determined that the family provision applications involves a two-stage process:
The Court will consider other various factors, including:
Making a family provision application is not an easy process and is something that you should discuss with a solicitor in detail. If you are considering making or responding to a family provision application please do not hesitate to contact me as there are strict time frames that you will need to abide by.
Also, if you are making a Will and planning on excluding a family member from your Will it is important you leave evidence outlining your reasons for doing so. A lawyer experienced in this area can assist you with this and help reduce the risk of a successful family provision application being made against your Estate.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding the above, please do not hesitate to contact me.