If you feel that you need to contest a will, you need to see first if you meet the criteria. That means establishing your eligibility. Therefore, you need to check to see if you are an eligible person under the law. Spouses are eligible in this respect. If you are a surviving spouse of a person who has passed away, then you can contest the will if you believe it is unfair. You must have been the spouse, or wife or husband, of the decedent, at the time of their death.
You can also contest a will if you are a former spouse. If you were living in a de facto relationship with a partner who passed away, you are also considered an eligible candidate. This relationship includes anyone who was involved in a same-sex relationship as well.
If you are a child of the decedent, you can also contest their will. The term child factors in adult children as well as children under 18 years of age and adopted children. Being a stepchild does not make you eligible to contest a will. However, you may still be able to contest the document if you were dependent on the person at the time of their passing. In these situations, you can contest the will as a stepchild in QLD or VIC.
If you are the grandchild of the decedent and you were at any time totally or partially dependent on the person who died, you are someone who can contest a will in NSW. You can also contest a will in VIC. If you live in QLD, you have to be under the age of 18 and dependent on the decedent at the time of their death.
Additionally, you can contest a will if you were involved in a close and personal relationship with the deceased and lived with them. However, this eligibility does not apply to residents of QLD.
Making a Determination
Certain classifications of eligibility must be established to show the relationship of the deceased person with the person contesting the will and why they are considered a beneficiary. With that being said, the above criteria have been generalised, as specific legal advice cannot be given online.
To see if you are eligible to contest a will, you need to talk to a legal specialist to review all the factors. For example, you may have a claim to certain assets which are not a part of the decedent’s estate. This eligibility is only applied to NSW residents. Assets of this type, which do not strictly fall under a decedent’s estate, are known as a notional estate.
One example of a notional estate are items that a decedent gave away or sold to someone for less than their value within three years of their death. Also, a notional estate may take the form of superannuation or life insurance. A notional estate is also defined as an asset a decedent held jointly with another party, such as a bank account or house. If the decedent made a loan to a person and forgave the loan upon their death, then that is another example of a notional estate.
If you are considering contesting a will, seek counsel from a legal specialist to determine your eligibility and review the details of your claim.