Will Contests and Estate Disputes

At iWills Legal, we have the expertise and compassion to assist you with all matters of disputes arising from a deceased estate. Whether you want to contest a Will, defend an estate against a Will contest, or any other issue relating to a dispute regarding a deceased estate, we have the experience and desire to provide you with high level representation.

We acknowledge the emotional nature of contentious estate matters, which can give rise to significant stress and anxiety. To mitigate any worry experienced in these situations, it is crucial to have a thorough understanding of your legal rights. iWills Legal is distinguished by our emphasis on clear and open communication, swift and effective action, a commitment to high-quality service and a genuine sense of empathy. Our primary objective is to provide unwavering support to our clients and to achieve definite and meaningful outcomes.

In Victoria, eligible claimants can make an application to the relevant Court for provision or further provision from an estate. This is commonly known as a Testator’s Family Maintenance claim or a Part IV claim. Such a claim can be issued in circumstances where there is a Will, or if the person died without a Will and the intestacy laws apply. You only have six months from the date of a Grant of Probate (if there was a Will) or a Grant of Letters of Administration (if there was no Will) to make a claim against an estate. There are also some circumstances where a Part IV claim made outside of this timeframe could be accepted, but only if the estate had not been fully distributed. Don’t hesitate to get in contact with the iWills Legal team to begin the process.

An eligible claimant includes:

  • A spouse or domestic partner
  • A former spouse or former domestic partner
  • A child or children, including adopted children and in some cases step-children or defacto step-children;
  • A member of the deceased’s household, if they were financially dependent on the deceased person.

We can advise you on whether you are an eligible claimant, and if so, the merits of bring a Part IV claim against an estate. Generally, you must be able to show that you have a financial and/or medical need to receive further provision. Your financial circumstances and those of any other beneficiary or eligible claimant are taken into account.

99% of Will contests managed by iWills Legal are settled by negotiation or mediation without the need for any appearance in Court.

There can also be times where a formal Will contest is not required. For example, beneficiaries might come to an agreement with regards to a deceased estate being distributed in a manner that was not provided for in the Will. In those circumstances, provided that all beneficiaries affected are adults and have capacity to make legal decisions, it would be more cost effective to reach a settlement by way of a Deed of Family Arrangement. Discuss your unique circumstances with us and we will provide you with options as to the best path forward.

Are you an executor of a Will that is being contested? Are you the beneficiary of a Will that is being contested? If so, you need expert legal advice to assist you with defending the Will. It can be very stressful and emotional defending a Will contest whether you are an executor or a beneficiary, or in a lot of cases both.

We can assist you with advising on the merits of the claim being made against the estate, negotiating with the claimant’s legal representatives, attending mediation and attending to Court if settlement cannot be reached.

99% of cases defending a Will contest managed by iWills Legal are settled by negotiation or mediation without the need for any appearance in Court.

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for executors to be in dispute over an estate. This can occur when family members, often siblings, are appointed to act jointly as executors, but they may not agree on certain matters, such as the assets of the estate or they may not have a good relationship.

Where more than one person is nominated to act as an executor, they must act together jointly. If one executor is acting independently, it can cause tension and stress to the other executor(s).

An executor of an estate must always act in the best interests of the estate and of its beneficiaries. If an executor or beneficiary is displeased with an executor’s conduct, disputes can arise resulting in unnecessary legal fees for the parties involved.

If you are experiencing difficulty with an executor, please contact the iWills Legal team and we will provide you with expert and practical advice to settle such disputes as quickly as possible.

The iWills Legal team can assist you with many other unforeseen or complex matters that can arise in administering an estate.

  • Are you an executor wanting to make a claim for executor’s commission?
  • Does the Will provide for testamentary trusts?
  • Does the Will provide for a life interest or right to reside in property? Is a life tenant of a property causing issues and neglecting the estate property?
  • Are any of the beneficiaries named in the Will (or a beneficiary pursuant to the intestacy laws) minors?
  • Has a named beneficiary died?
  • Does a beneficiary or executor live overseas temporarily or permanently?
  • Are you experiencing any difficulties with assets of the estate and how they are to be administered or distributed?

As experts in the field, the iWills Legal team can assist you with any advice you require in relation to a deceased estate. Get in contact with us today to discuss your unique circumstances and see how we can help.

If you are concerned about the validity of a Will, you may have ground to challenge it. A will could be challenged if:

  • The Will maker did not have capacity to make a Will
  • The Will was not executed correctly
  • The Will maker was being influenced or intimidated into making the Will
  • The Will was made in suspicious circumstances

If you believe that any of the above scenarios apply to your situation, you should seek specialist legal advice as soon as possible. It can be difficult to prove that any of the above matters occurred after someone has died, and it is very difficult to challenge a Will if a Grant of Probate has already been obtained.

We are experienced in Will challenges and can assist you, even if the person is still living. Get in contact with the iWills Legal team and we can assist you with determining whether you should make a challenge on a Will.

The law surrounding superannuation can be complex and difficult to navigate. We have expertise in handling all types of superannuation matters, including dealing with various super funds and lodging complaints with the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) should it become necessary. If you relate to any of the following queries or have any other kind of enquiry about a superannuation death benefit, get in contact with us and we can let you know how we can assist.

  • Are you unsure whether you are an eligible person to receive a death benefit?
  • Do you need assistance with initiating a death benefit claim from a super fund?
  • Are you dissatisfied with a decision made by a super fund?
  • Has someone made a complaint against a death benefit you received from a deceased estate?

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