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Estate Litigation

Dealing with the death of a loved one can be an incredibly trying and emotional time. This is particularly the case if you have been dealt with unfairly in a Will. You may be able to contest the Will of a family member if you have been left out, or if it was created in suspicious circumstances. Our lawyers are experts in estate litigation and can help you ensure you get your fair share.

Estate Litigation Advice

Our award winning estate litigation lawyers can help you, if you want to contest a Will. You may be able to contest a Will if:

  • You have been left out of, or received inadequate provision;
  • The executor or administrator of the estate is failing in their duties;
  • The Will was prepared in suspicious circumstances (for example, when the deceased may not have had capacity, or may have been suffering from dementia).
  • There are questions or disputes about how an estate should be administered, or what a section in a Will means.

We regularly act for estates, and defend claims made by family members.

In addition to estate litigation, we can help with disputes relating to family trusts.

Further Provision Claims

If you have received inadequate provision in a Will, you may be able to seek further provision from the estate. To be eligible to seek further provision, you must be an 'eligible person'. An eligible person generally includes:

  • Spouses, de factos, former spouses, children and dependant grandchildren of the deceased
  • Persons who were members of the deceased’s household
  • Any other dependant or a person who lived in a close personal relationship with the deceased

An application to the Court for a family provision order must be made within 6 months after the date of the grant of probate of the will or of letters of administration.

Challenging the validity

If you believe someone was not fit or did not have the capacity to make a Will, or that they were pressured or influenced into making a Will, you must seek advice and act quickly. These claims should be made before probate is granted.

Removal of executors

If an executor is not acting in accordance with their duties, you may be able to bring a claim to remove them, and have someone else appointed.

An executor may not be acting in their duties if:

  • They are taking a long time to administer the estate;
  • They are treating estate property as if it was their own;
  • They are causing loss or wastage to the estate, or not investing estate funds;
  • The executor is not communicating with you after a long time.

Will Construction and Judicial Advice

Sometimes a Will is not clear, or there are questions or disputes about how an estate should be distributed. The Supreme Court of Victoria has the power to make orders to answer questions about how an estate should be administered, called 'judicial advice'. An application for judicial advice can be made by an executor or administrator, or a beneficiary of an estate.

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