Legal partners for life

Contact Info

Level 28, 140 William Street, Melbourne Victoria 3000 Australia
Call: +61 3 8600 6000

Follow Us

Estate Litigation

Types of Claims

An estate can be contested by family members in a number of ways.

  • Family provision claims: A family member who has financial needs and believes they haven’t been adequately provided for under the Will or the intestacy provisions may be able to contest the estate to obtain a greater share.
  • Invalidity: If the Will-maker lacked the requisite mental capacity or was unduly influenced into making their Will, or did not know or approve the contents of the Will, the Will can be challenged.
  • Fraud: If the Will is believed to be fraudulent or a forgery, it can be challenged.

As an executor, you may also have to deal with other claims against the estate:

  • Creditors can sue the estate if they are owed money by the deceased.
  • Executors and administrators can be sued for failing to administer the estate properly or within a reasonable time.
  • Superannuation benefits can be disputed.

What you need to do if an estate is challenged

You should:

  • Avoid making any distributions of the estate.
  • Get specialist legal advice immediately.

Disputes can become very expensive very quickly. We can advise you on the strength of any claim and help you negotiate a settlement without going to Court. Should the dispute proceed to Court, our Wills and Estates team comprises of highly experienced litigation lawyers who are well equipped to handle any legal proceedings if they become necessary.

The important thing is to act quickly. Delays can hurt your case and result in higher costs. With our help, you can resolve your disputes as quickly as possible and move on with your life.

Defending an estate

Being an executor or administrator of an estate can be difficult, complex and time-consuming. You are responsible for ensuring the estate is distributed in accordance with the law and that the deceased person’s Will is upheld.

Although you may not have asked for this responsibility, you may be held accountable for any losses. Therefore, it is crucial to seek professional legal advice in case a dispute emerges.

Contesting an estate

If you have been treated unfairly in a person’s Will, or are unhappy with the way an estate is being handled, you have legal rights that can protect you.

Wills & Estates law is complex and often has strict deadlines for making claims. If you want to get the best outcome, you must seek advice as soon as possible.

Legal costs

We understand that the cost of making a claim can be daunting. We will be up-front with you about the estimated costs to contest an estate following an assessment of whether we believe your claim will be successful.

Types of claims

There are two main types of claims that can be made:

1. Family provision claims

If you aren’t satisfied with the distribution that you received from a loved one’s Will or estate, you may be able to contest the estate to receive a greater share.

In Victoria, the types of people who can bring a claim generally include:

  • Wives, husbands and de facto partners.
  • Children, stepchildren and grandchildren.
  • People who shared a household with the deceased.

You only have 6 months to bring a claim from the date a grant of probate or letters of administration is made in Victoria. In some cases, the court can extend this, but time is of the essence.

2. Validity of the Will

A Will is only valid when the person making it is of sound mind and free of undue influence. If a Will is made in questionable circumstances, it may be invalid and can be challenged.

Additionally, if the Will is believed to be fraudulent or a forgery, it can be challenged.

If you are mentioned in the Will, or are a family member, you are usually entitled to a copy of the Will following the deceased's passing.

If you believe a Will is invalid, you must act quickly to prevent the Will being probated in Court. We can assess your case and advise you on the claims you have and the best legal strategy. We may be able to resolve your claim without going to Court, which will save you time and money.

Get in touch

Fill out the form below or give us a call: +61 3 8600 6000

Design by: Cabria Design. Site by: Flux Creative