Family Provision Claims – someone wants more from the Estate
If you have been left out of a will, or feel that you have not been fairly treated by a close relative (or someone who you live with or are dependent on) in their will, we can assist you with a family provision claim. This is a claim to receive a portion (or larger portion) of an Estate. There are a number of factors required before you can consider commencing proceedings, including whether you are an ‘eligible person’.
We also assist executors if they are defending a claim for family provision.
Can anyone make a claim?
Only certain categories of people are able to make such a claim. We will be able to determine in our first interview whether you are an eligible person, and whether there are sufficient grounds for you to consider making a claim.
We advise executors whether the person is likely to be considered an ‘eligible person’ and whether the executor should consider an early settlement in order to prevent costly litigation.
When must a claim be made?
Family provision claims must be filed in the Supreme Court within 12 months of the date of death. In some cases it may be possible to file after that time, if the court permits. Talk to us for advice on whether you may file your claim.
But isn’t going to court expensive?
Yes it is. However, the court has praised our firm for keeping family provision costs down to very reasonable levels, particularly in an estate with assets less than $1 million.
We can offer a number of fee arrangements including paying from your distribution, payment plans where an agreed amount is paid on a monthly basis. If you are successful, the court may order that some of your costs are paid by the Estate.
There are cases where the costs of going to court far exceed the amount you are likely to receive in the estate.
Other Estate Litigation
Estate litigation (other than family provision claims) encompass a broad range of issues.
contesting the validity of a will (including but not limited to testamentary capacity)
Undue influence in preparing a will
contesting an application for probate or letters of administration
removal of executors/administrators
claims for undue influence in breach of fiduciary duties or seeking financial gain
constructive and resulting trusts
We have experience in a broad range of estate litigation issues and have a very high success rate in terms of matters settling in our client’s favour prior to a full contested hearing.