With a strong property market and an aging population, it seems disputes over wills will be increasingly common. Many people know of someone who has been involved in a legal claim about a disputed will or defending a contested will. A will can be disputed for a number of reasons. These reasons include:
• Whether the person who made the will (called the testator) is alleged to lack capacity or was unduly influenced when making the will, or
• The parties agree that the will is valid but think the apportionment of the testator’s estate under the will leads to an unfair distribution in light of the claims to be made on the testator’s bounty.
Legal claims about contested estates are heard in the Supreme Court of New South Wales. This area of law is becoming highly specialised. The Supreme Court has more of these types of cases than ever before. The Court has a strong desire to see parties come to an agreement. These factors combined mean that most of these types of matters are settled by agreement between the parties.
In addition, there is often significant overlap between estate litigation and other areas of law including family law, estate planning and business structures for family enterprises. Therefore, it is important to be aware of possible implications of any agreement reached in a will dispute may have unintended consequences for other areas of one’s life. This means those in a will dispute should get proper legal advice. Hunt & Hunt Lawyers is able to assist clients in this area of law and so help guide through the options available and to achieve a suitable outcome which will allow the client to resolve issues and move on with their lives.
Anthea Tronson heads the Hunt & Hunt Estate Litigation practice at our North Ryde office. Anthea has extensive experience in acting in complex and large estates and in utilising a range of methods including negotiation, mediation and litigation to help people resolve issues as required. Anthea is committed to working with clients to achieve constructive solutions to their estate dispute problems and is always looking at practical ways of resolving a dispute, not just legal ones. An estate dispute can be challenging both financially and emotionally but understanding all options makes it easier and Anthea’s can certainly support and represent clients so they can move confidently through this period in their life.
If you require assistance, please contact Anthea Tronson.