Challenging a Will can be daunting and emotionally charged, particularly when you feel justice has not been served. In the pursuit of fairness, you need to navigate the complexities of estate litigation with precision and care. By enlisting the services of estate litigation lawyers and meticulously organising your evidence, you stand a better chance of success. However, even the most well-intentioned people can make mistakes.
If you want your challenge to succeed, you must avoid making these blunders.
Lack of Proper Documentation
Documentation is one of the biggest keys to a successful Will estate dispute. You need as much supporting evidence as possible, from communication records and financial statements to medical records and any other relevant evidence. A paper trail is crucial to proving your case.
Losing someone you love is difficult, and it can be even harder to focus on the administrative details during an emotional time. You should notify the estate executor and deceased estate lawyers of your intent to challenge the Will at the earliest opportunity to ensure they do not distribute the estate.
Once you have lawyers on your side, they will handle the crucial timeframe. The sooner you start the process, the easier it is to have everything in order by the relevant deadlines.
In New South Wales, you have 12 months from the date of death to lodge your Will contention in court. You may be able to file after this period if you can prove there was confusion around the exact date of death. However, it is up to the court to determine a reasonable death date. You may also be able to lodge a claim after the statute of limitations if you received bad legal advice that delayed your application. It’s always best to seek legal advice to explore your options.
Inadequate Legal Representation
The easiest way to avoid the most common mistakes when challenging a will is to take legal advice as early as possible. The earlier you enlist a lawyer, the more robust a case you can build. Lawyers can provide you with the advice you need to get the correct documentation in order and adhere to the statutes of limitations.
The legal process is complicated, and trying to move forward without an expert is a common mistake and one sure to derail your case. A lawyer can be your advocate when negotiating with the executor and solicitors and may improve the initial settlement offer and help avoid more costly solutions.
If your legal representation is inadequate, it can derail your efforts to mount a successful claim. So, be sure to seek out the services of a qualified will and estate litigation lawyer.
Making Emotional Decisions
Losing a loved one is a deeply emotional experience, and many people act out of those intense emotions when launching a will challenge. You shouldn’t make your decision to dispute a Will based on your initial emotional reaction.
You may feel hurt, you may feel angry, but give yourself enough time to properly process your emotions before you decide to move forward with a court case. There are long-term consequences when challenging a Will, it will inevitably lead to upset within the family and may destroy relationships, whether you are in the right or not.
Failure To Explore Alternative Resolutions
As with any court action, alternative methods are always available to reach a resolution. In the case of a Will dispute, when a claimant notifies the estate executor of their intention to dispute the Will it is the first opportunity to settle the issue.
The executor is in charge of defending the will in legal proceedings. They will make an attempt to settle the issue to avoid litigation. Failing that, you can pursue mediation. Mediation is a compulsory step in the will dispute process, but you have to enter into it with an open mind and try to pursue a resolution that pleases all parties.
If you fail to settle your claim and it goes to litigation, you could be forced to pay for the estate’s legal costs if the court offers you a smaller settlement or no settlement. So, it’s important that you take legal advice.
How AJB Stevens Can Help
Before you start challenging a Will, you should seek legal advice. You need to ensure you are eligible to raise a Will dispute and find out what evidence is required for you to prove your case. It’s a complex process and it’s important that you understand your rights in New South Wales under the Succession Act 2006. If you are eligible under the Family Provision Claim, you can challenge a Will, whether you were unhappy with the size of your inheritance or disinherited altogether.
The best way to ensure the success of your case is to work with expert Will and estate lawyers. AJB Stevens can help – our knowledgeable team can give you the advice you need. We will assess your case and guide you on how best to proceed to ensure you receive the outcome you deserve.