Auckland Estate Lawyer – Contentious Estates – Learn How You Can Contest A Will
Contentious wills and estates are more common than you might think. What grounds can you use to challenge a will? If you honestly believe that you didn’t receive a proper benefit through the execution of a will, then you might be able to challenge the will itself. Below we will look at some of the ways to challenge an Auckland contentious will. Remember, this is not legal advice and for that, if you want to challenge a will, you will need to find an Auckland lawyer to challenge a will.
You might be able to challenge a will in several ways.
*If you’re a particularly close relative, you might be able to challenge the will through the Family Protection Act 1955.
*Even if you’re not a relative, should the deceased have promised your inclusion in the will in exchange for services which you provided, then you might be able to challenge the will through the Law Reform (Testamentary Promises) Act 1949.
*Should you be the spouse of the deceased, their civil union partner, or just de facto partner, then you might be entitled to get the property of your relationship divided via the equal sharing rules stipulated in the Property (Relationships) Act 1976.
*There might be also grounds for directly challenging the very legal validity of the said will. This might be possible, for instance, if the will wasn’t witnessed properly.
If you notify the appropriate court that you have the intention of challenging the will, then the immediate impact is going to be a trustee or executor under the will should no longer make any kind of distributions of the estate, aside from funeral costs, expenses, and debts.
Using The Family Protection Act For Challenges
The Family Protection Act might be a way for you to apply to a High or Family Court for provision from the estate of the deceased, should you be the deceased’s:
*spouse, de facto partner, or civil union partner (it should be noted that de facto partners do face a handful of potential restrictions)
The court is likely to uphold your claim should it believe that the specific deceased was negligent in adequately fulfilling their moral duty for the proper support and maintenance of certain family members.
If the court makes this decision, it is going to balance the moral duty of the deceased against the also-important principle that any testator has the right to determine the posthumous fate of their property.
Using The Law Reform (Testamentary Promises) Act For Challenges
Even when you’re not a close relative, it might still be possible to arrange for your claim via the act. This would cover scenarios where you provided work or service for the deceased, who had promised to you something in return via their will.
You would have to offer satisfactory proof of that promise, but that can be hard at times. Evidence can be written or oral.
In order to justify a claim, it’s not actually necessary for that promise to have been made prior to you providing the services and/or work.
Property Division Via The Property (Relationships) Act
Through the Property (Relationships) Act, the deceased person’s legal spouse, civil union spouse, or de facto partner (which can include same-sex partners) has a right to decide between either:
*applying for relationship property to get divided per the equal-sharing rules of the act, or
*rather, receiving property granted to surviving partner or spouse via the will.
Applying through the act doesn’t prevent a partner or spouse from also putting in an application through the Law Reform (Testamentary Promises) Act or Family Protection Act.
Challenging The Very Legal Validity Of A Will
You might challenge the actual legal validity of a certain will, should you provide proof of:
*the testator or deceased wasn’t in a state of sound mind or perhaps incapacitated mentally somehow at the time the will was signed, or
*the actual will wasn’t appropriately witnessed and/or signed, or
*the deceased/testator was unaware or disapproving of the contents of the will when they signed it, or
*the testator/deceased were subjected to some kind of undue influence at the time of the signing.
Should the challenge prove successful, then any earlier versions of the will might take effect. If there isn’t any earlier will available, then it is proclaimed that the deceased died ‘intestate’, which means they didn’t leave a valid will behind. Then, the law will dictate the distribution of the assets.
If you are unhappy with a will and want to challenge it, try McVeagh Fleming who has a team of experienced lawyers for contentious wills.