Will Disputes, Challenges and Contests 

Make sure your loved one’s Will is valid and that their estate is distributed in the right way. 

Book A Free Consultation

NO WIN NO FEE                +  FEES WITHHELD

Make Sure Your Loved One’s Assets Are Distributed Fairly 

If a loved one’s Will isn’t valid or fair, you can challenge it in court. Challenging the Will’s validity and lodging a family provision claim can help you get what you’re entitled to.  

Will creation & dispute

Challenging a Will 

You think the Will itself could be invalid. 

Family lawyer Melbourne

Family Provision Claims

You think you’ve been left out or treated unfairly under the Will.

Challenging the Validity of a Will 

Not every Will is valid. 

Legally, a Will has to meet certain requirements – someone can’t pressure the testator to make choices, for example, nor can a Will be changed after it’s been witnessed and signed. 

There are multiple reasons a Will might not be valid, including: 

  • someone unduly influenced the testator; 
  • the testator lacked testamentary capacity; 
  • the Will was signed or witnessed incorrectly; 
  • the Will is a fake or was changed after signage; and 
  • the current Will is not the most recent legally valid Will. 

If you think a Will made by a recently deceased loved one could match any of those conditions – or even if you think something just seems strange – get in touch with our Wills and estates team. 

We’ll help you file a caveat that stops probate from being granted for up to six months, giving us the time we need to investigate properly. 

If we find evidence of invalidity, we’ll help you challenge and potentially overturn the Will in court. 

Will Creation and Updates 
Will Disputes and Litigation 

What Is a Family Provision Claim? 

A family provision claim is an action that certain people can take if they think they’ve been treated unfairly under a loved one’s Will. 

A family provision claim accepts that the Will is valid, but disputes its moral fairness. 

If a family provision application is successful, the Court can make a family provision order, so that the claimant will receive what the Court considers ‘adequate provision’ from the deceased person’s estate. 

Family provision claims can only be lodged by certain people, including the deceased’s: 

  • current partner; 
  • former partner (under certain circumstances); 
  • child or stepchild; 
  • child’s partner or household member (under certain circumstances); 
  • grandchild; and 
  • registered caring partner. 

Making a Family Provision Claim 

If you meet the eligibility requirements, you can lodge a family provision claim in the Supreme Court of Victoria. 

When deciding a family provision claim, the Court considers a number of factors, including: 

  • what the deceased’s Will was; 
  • any reasons given in the Will regarding the distribution of assets; and 
  • any evidence of the deceased’s intentions in relation to providing for you. 

The Court can also consider: 

  • your relationship with the deceased person, including any financial support; 
  • the obligations of the deceased person; 
  • the nature of the estate; 
  • the earning capacity of eligible people and beneficiaries; 
  • your age, contributions to the estate, and disabilities (if any);  
  • any benefits you previously received from the deceased; 
  • your character and conduct; and 
  • any other matters the Court considers relevant. 

Talk to our experienced estate litigation solicitors to find out how we can help you make a successful claim. 

Probate and Estate Administration
Testamentary Trusts 

Defending a Family Provision Claim 

There are two main ways to defeat family provision claims: 

  1. As the testator, pre-empt claims through strategic estate planning. 
  2. As the estate executor, negotiate a resolution or fight the claim in court.  

By planning your estate administration properly before you die, you can help make sure that the risk of claims against your estate is minimised. 

If you’re an executor administering an estate that’s facing a claim, talk to a solicitor about your options. 

You should balance the deceased’s wishes with what’s best for the estate – sometimes, it can cost the estate less to settle a claim than to fight it out in court. 

The Family Provision Claim Process 

1. Consider Eligibility 

Your solicitor assesses your eligibility and helps you collect evidence that supports your claim. 

2. Apply 

You solicitor helps you lodge an application for a claim within six months of the grant of representation. 

3. Notice of Application 

Your solicitor notifies the estate executor and other eligible parties of your claim in writing. 

4. Negotiate 

Your solicitors negotiates on your behalf with the executor – you may be able to settle your claim quickly and cost-effectively. 

5. Go to Court 

If both sides can’t reach a settlement, the Court will assess the strength of your claim and make a decision. 

Your Wills and Estates Law Team 

Penny LaGreca
Partner | Principal Solicitor 

Penny is a leading family law solicitor admitted in the Supreme Court of Victoria. 

She has a broad range of expertise across multiple practice areas like family law, Wills and estate planning, and personal injuries, and holds a Masters of Wills and Estates Law. 

Penny personal injury lawyers

Nick Lionakis
Senior Solicitor 

Nick is a senior personal injury and estate law solicitor who has practised in both Victoria and Queensland. 

His local and interstate experience covers statutory claims, common law damages, and strategic estate planning. 

Nick is fluent in both Greek and Spanish. 

melbourne personal injury lawyers

Success Stories

Practical Guides to Wills and Estates 

If you’re thinking about making or updating a Will, reading up on the basics of Wills and estate planning can be helpful. 

Get started with our library of easy-to-read articles and guides. 

Commercial Lawyers
15 July 2024

Understanding the Liability of Insurance Brokers

Insurance brokers play a crucial role in the insurance industry, acting as intermediaries between clients and insurers. Their primary responsibility is to find the best insurance policies to meet their…
CommercialCommercial Lawyers
3 June 2024

Correcting False Business Records in Companies in Victoria

Abstract The integrity of business records is crucial for the functioning of transparent and accountable corporate governance. This article explores the issue of false business records within companies in Victoria,…
Professional legal team shaking hands in Melbourne office.Commercial Lawyers
20 February 2024

Overlooked Legal Shields: How Injunctions Can Safeguard Your Business Interests

Shielding Your Enterprise: The Underrated Power of Legal Injunction When it comes to protecting the vitality of your business, legal injunctions are a powerful yet often underutilised tool. In Melbourne,…

Will Challenge and Contest FAQs 

What’s the success rate for family provision claims in Victoria?

A 2015 study analysed 109 family provision claims from across Australia in 2011 and found that 81 of them (74%) were successful.  

Interestingly, the rate of success increased with the size of the estate. Nationally, claims against estates under $500,000 had a success rate of 61%, whereas claims against estates worth more than $3 million had a success rate of 100%.   

What are the grounds for challenging a Will?

There are several reasons that a Will can be considered invalid, including: 

  • if the testator lacked testamentary capacity; 
  • if the Will wasn’t signed or witnessed correctly; 
  • if fraud occurred, such as forging of the testator’s signature; 
  • if undue influence was involved in the making or changing of the Will; and 
  • if the current Will is not the most recent legally valid Will. 

Can I challenge a Will after probate has been granted?

Although the validity of a Will may be open to challenge even after probate has been granted, making such a challenge would normally be extremely difficult. 

Similarly, although a family provision claim can be lodged after the six-month time limit, you’ll need to apply to the Supreme Court of Victoria for permission to do so. 

The best way to successfully challenge or contest a Will is to lodge a probate caveat as soon as possible. Even if you’re not sure whether you want to move ahead with a claim, a caveat can delay a grant of probate for up to six months, giving you and other eligible parties time to assess your options and seek professional legal advice.   

Expert Wills and estates advice from leading Melbourne lawyers. 

Contact Form