One of the basic concepts of the legal world is that applicable laws vary from state to state, and from one territory to another. You should never assume that a rule, regulation, or law in one location will apply in another place. It’s always best to consult with an experienced legal professional who works in your area of concern.
This standard certainly applies to the question of wills and who is in a position to contest that document. In fact, if you have any doubts about who can contest a will in NSW, you should contact an expert in the legal area who focuses on wills and estates.
A Few Guidelines
Being a family member of someone recently deceased is difficult, but properly handling the individual’s final wishes can make the time less stressful. However, if you have doubts about the will of someone close to you, you may want to consult someone who can guide you toward the next step in the process.
In NSW, there are some particular guidelines for this period. For example, if there are individuals who were significantly dependent on the deceased, they may have the standing to proceed. If you have doubts as to the mental capacity of the deceased to understand the making of the will, that may be a reason to contest the document.
In this last situation, individuals may be able to dispute a beneficiary’s share of the proceeds. There may also be cases of improper influence on the estate’s executor before the signing of the will, which may indicate incorrect representation of the now-deceased person’s wishes.
But That’s Not Fair
Sometimes an individual hears the details of the will and their first reaction is that it’s not fair. There is some foundation for this in NSW law, though there will probably have to be evidence that the results were grossly unfair. The exact meaning of this can always be debated, so if you feel you have cause, you should consult with an experienced legal field professional.
Making the decision to contest a will is never easy, but you can find out if you have a case by contacting a leading legal expert in your area. On an individual basis, they may offer a “no win-no fee” option. You will not have to worry about paying a fee you cannot afford, something that often stops people from pursuing what may be a good case.
There are a few basic ground rules for proceeding with a will contest, one of which involves the deceased person’s place of residence before they died. You should also consult with a professional to determine if you have the legal standing to contest the will as a family member or someone who was financially dependent on the deceased. To be safe, visit with a legal expert and ask questions to clear up any doubts you may have.