Wills disputes occur when a party is dissatisfied with the terms of the testator's will. These disputes often occur after the testator's death as the will goes through probate. If the aggrieved party wins the case, the courts decide how to share out the testator's estate. Below is an article discussing the causes of wills disputes and how testators can avoid these incidents.
What Are The Causes Of Wills Disputes?
Wills disputes are caused by the following:
Contradicting wills: Beneficiaries could dispute the authenticity of the will if there is more than one will, each with different terms. In such a case, it would be difficult to prove which will contains the testator's intended plans. This can be avoided by destroying old wills after making a new will. If you cannot find your old will, you could include a clause the revokes the terms of previous wills in the new will.
Poorly written wills: If you do not engage the services of a wills and estates lawyer, there is a high probability that your last will and testament will not meet the threshold required to pass through probate. For example, it could have contradicting clauses or lack the signatures of witnesses.
Family provision claim: The primary reason why people write wills is to decide how they would want their property to be used once they die. The will should adequately provide for dependents such as children and spouses. Varying family and personal circumstances could compel the testator to leave some beneficiaries out of the will. These individuals have a right to claim estate proceeds if they cannot provide for themselves. Testators can avoid such disputes by including a no-contest clause or attaching a letter of wishes explaining why a beneficiary was left out of the will.
Undue influence: There are instances where a beneficiary could blackmail the testator into giving them a larger share of the property. For example, the primary caregiver could deny the testator quality care until they receive specific assets. If you make this claim, you bear the burden of proof in court.
Lack of testamentary capacity: In Australia, you must be of sound mind when writing a will. If not, the will is considered null and void. As such, beneficiaries could contest a will if the testator was intoxicated, suffered from a mental illness or was medically incapacitated when writing the will.
A wills and estates lawyer will help you write a water-tight will. Besides, the lawyer will explain to your beneficiaries the risks of contesting the will in court. For more information about will disputes, reach out to a professional.Share
19 April 2021
I love watching legal dramas from all different countries. I often call up my friend who is a lawyer to ask her about whether the cases I have seen on the latest drama are realistic or if they wouldn't happen that way in Australia. It's so interesting to me to see the changes that they make to make the stories flow more convincingly as well as the differences between the law in Australian compared to other countries. This blog is for other fans of legal dramas like me and has some tips on the best places to get real legal advice (hint, it's not on the TV!).