Disputing a Will

Disputing a Will – What you need to know

When someone passes away it can be a difficult time for everyone involved. These difficult times can be made even harder if you’re concerned about your place in the Will of the deceased.

Here at Gordon Legal, we can provide you with experienced and valuable advice that will help you navigate these tricky times.

Our People

James Naughton

James is a highly regarded commercial lawyer and litigator. He has successfully brought claims against Australia’s largest banks, stockbrokers and financial institutions. He has also acted for people and organisations subject to investigations by government agencies and has advised industry superannuation funds, unions and corporations on regulatory, governance and directorship issues.

James provides advice on contractual matters, corporate disputes, professional negligence and defamation claims. He also acts in complex matters – such as class actions and group litigation, including the Robodebt class action.

Valerie Bradley
Valerie Bradley
Senior Associate
Valerie Bradley
Senior Associate

Valerie is an experienced member of our team who practices principally in estate litigation, estate administration, and estate planning. She acts for plaintiffs and defendants in part IV testator family maintenance claims in the County Court and Supreme Court. Assisting clients with their Wills and estate planning means she also provides solid advice on what situations may give rise to challenge a Will. Valerie provides legal advice in relation to will disputes, probate applications, letters of administration and estate administration. Valerie has also practiced in the Australian Capital Territory, where
she worked exclusively in Wills and Estates in the ACT and New South Wales.


Who can dispute a Will?

People have Will’s to ensure that once they pass away, they have a say in how their assets are shared amongst the people in their life. While the wishes of people after they pass away are  respected, there are some cases when a Will needs to be disputed because it treats someone unfairly or fails to provide for them at all.

People who can dispute a Will include the children, spouse or other family members of the deceased. If you are not related to the deceased, you may still be able to dispute the Will if you can show that you had a close and meaningful relationship with the deceased that would create the expectation that you should have been included in the Will.

When might I need to dispute a Will?

There are many reasons why you may need to dispute a Will after someone has passed away.

  • If you have been left out of a Will or you feel that your share in a Will is unfair, you may be able to dispute the Will. To be successful in a claim of this kind, you will need to show that the person who made the Will was under an obligation to provide for you in their Will. This is called a testator’s family maintenance claim. A successful testator family maintenance claim can result in the Will being altered to better provide for those who were in close and important relationships with the deceased.
  • If you think that a Will does not accurately reflect the wishes of the person who has passed away, you may be able to bring a claim for lack of testamentary capacity. A lack of testamentary capacity claim needs to prove that at the time the Will was made, the person who made it did not have the mental capacity or understanding required to fully understand the effects of what was being created. This might occur in situations where a Will was created by someone in very old age or at a time that they were physically or mentally very unwell. To prove this, you may also need supporting evidence from a treating medical practitioner.
  • If you find that one of the beneficiaries or trustees of a Will have failed to administer the Will properly you may be able to bring a breach of trust claim. Failure to administer a Will properly might include someone taking money from the estate for themselves or failing to distribute assets in the way the Will prescribes.

I think I need to dispute a Will, what can I do?

If you think that a Will fails to provide for you, doesn’t reflect the deceased’s wishes or has not being executed properly, it’s important that you get some professional advice as to how to go about achieving a fair outcome for you, the deceased and everyone involved.

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We are here to help

If you need Advice or want to speak to someone about disputeing a Will, get in touch with our experienced Wills and Estates team today.

Call 1800 21 22 23

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Melbourne VIC 3000
1800 21 22 23
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Geelong VIC 3220
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1/75 Robinson Street
Dandenong VIC 3175
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