6 Reasons to Contest A Will in NSW
At Koffels Solicitors and Barristers, we recognize the complexities and sensitivities involved in contesting a will. This detailed guide explores the most common and widely accepted valid reasons for challenging a will, showcasing our legal expertise and commitment to providing comprehensive support throughout this challenging process.
Each reason for contesting a will comes with its unique challenges and requirements.
Here’s a closer look:
1. Lack of Testamentary Capacity
At Koffels Solicitors and Barristers, we understand that questioning a person’s mental capacity when creating their will is a delicate matter. Testamentary capacity requires the testator to understand the nature and effect of a will, the extent of their property, and the claims of potential beneficiaries. Cognitive impairments, such as dementia or mental illness, can affect this capacity. Proving a lack of testamentary capacity involves collecting medical records, witness statements, and possibly expert testimony. Our team expertly navigates these sensitive issues, ensuring that all relevant evidence is meticulously examined and presented.
2. Undue Influence or Coercion
Contesting a will on the grounds of undue influence or coercion involves proving that the testator was pressured into making decisions that don’t reflect their true intentions. This pressure can be subtle or overt, originating from family members, friends, or caregivers. Demonstrating undue influence requires a deep understanding of the testator’s relationships and circumstances. Our legal professionals at Koffels Solicitors and Barristers are experienced in uncovering and presenting evidence of undue influence, from financial records to correspondence and witness accounts, ensuring a thorough and fair investigation.
3. Lack of Knowledge and Approval
A valid will requires the testator to have knowledge and approval of its contents. In cases where there is suspicion that the testator didn’t fully understand or agree to the will’s terms, it’s essential to investigate. This might involve circumstances where the will’s complexity was beyond the testator’s comprehension or when changes were made under questionable circumstances. Our approach includes detailed scrutiny of the will’s creation process and consultation with witnesses and professionals involved, to establish whether the testator genuinely knew and approved of the will’s contents.
4. Fraud or Forgery
Fraud or forgery in will-making is a serious allegation, requiring substantial evidence. It can range from a testator being misled about the nature of the document they were signing to the outright forgery of signatures. Our team at Koffels Solicitors and Barristers employs thorough investigative techniques, including forensic analysis, to uncover any fraudulent activities. We understand the nuances of proving fraud or forgery in will disputes and are committed to ensuring that any such injustices are brought to light.
5. Improper Execution
A will must adhere to specific legal standards in its execution. This includes being in writing, signed by the testator, and witnessed properly. Our team at Koffels Solicitors and Barristers is adept at examining wills for compliance with these legal formalities. We assess everything from the witnessing process to the document’s overall execution, identifying any procedural flaws that might affect its validity. With our expertise, clients can rest assured that all aspects of the will’s execution are thoroughly reviewed.
6. Family Provision Claims
Family provision claims arise when certain individuals, such as spouses or children, have not been adequately provided for in a will. At Koffels Solicitors and Barristers, we specialize in these claims, understanding the nuances of who is eligible and what constitutes ‘adequate provision’. We guide clients through the process of collecting evidence, such as financial records and personal correspondence, to build a compelling case. Our goal is to ensure fair treatment and rightful support for those left behind, aligning with the spirit of NSW’s family provision laws.
Contesting a will is a significant legal undertaking that requires skilled guidance and support. Koffels Solicitors and Barristers bring expertise, empathy, and a thorough approach to each case of contested wills in NSW. If you’re facing challenges regarding a will, we’re here to provide the legal support and advice you need.