Important Considerations Prior to Contesting an Established Will

It is hard enough to lose a loved one. The pain of the loss is considered one of the top 10 stressors a person can experience in his or her life. Making the funeral arrangements and laying the person to rest is also extremely difficult, but afterwards you can begin to allow yourself to feel some closure and move on with your life; that is, unless you must contest the decedent's will to earn what is rightfully yours.

Securing the Help of Legal Counsel

Contesting a will is a very complex process that you should not attempt to do by yourself. You are, in essence, saying that a legal document recognised by the courts is not as it should be. You are also likely going against other family members who will not see your contest favourably, particularly if they coerced the decedent to sign a will under protest or when the decedent was not of sound mind as you suspect. It's best to secure the help of qualified counsel to guide you through this complex legal process.

Can You Contest the Will?

Contesting the will or any other part of the estate allocation is dependent upon your relation to the decedent. According to the Government of Western Australia Department of Attorney General, only spouses, children, parents, or de facto partners can contest a will legally. There may be extenuating circumstances that allow "stepchildren, grandchildren, former spouses and former de facto partners" to make a claim, and a qualified attorney will be able to explain what constitutes extenuating circumstances

For Those Writing Their Wills

For those writing their wills, qualified counsel can help you draft a document that will help prevent court action. According to ABC Radio Melbourne, laws in the vicinity that came into effect in 2015 have tightened the reins on who is allowed to contest a last will and testament. It used to be that just about anyone could file a claim contesting the validity of a will and the estate disbursement, but the new laws have eradicated this action, and only those directly related to the deceased can file a claim.

The best bet to avoid any issues after your death is to write a will that explains in detail who gets what and why. You should include notes that prevent people from contesting the will due to hurt feelings or misunderstandings. An estate attorney can help you construct an uncontestable will, and if you are in the position of needing to contest a will, an estate attorney can help you with that as well.

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