What happens if you've been left out of a will?

Date: Nov 18, 2015

Being left out of a will is never pleasant, but it is possible to have the will reconsidered for your benefit. This is called contesting a will.

Attempting to claim after being left out of a will can often seem a difficult undertaking, but there are instances in which you can do so.

Note that only certain people are able to contest a will - a good opportunity to speak with expert lawyers.

Who can contest a will?

Before reaching out to wills and estates lawyers, it's worth investigating whether or not you can actually contest a will in the first place. To help, below are the people capable making such a claim:

1) A spouse of the deceased

A de facto spouse or even a person living in a domestic relationship with the deceased (at the date of death). Note that the same applies to same-sex relationships. A former spouse can also contest a will.

2) A dependant or member of the household

A person who has dependant on the deceased, but not necessarily a child. Members of the household of the deceased.

3) Children of the deceased

Any children of the deceased individual can file and contest a will.

Will validity

To determine whether or not a will is valid, a court in NSW will attempt to answer to a number of questions, including:

  1. Whether or not the will in question was actually the last will made by the deceased.
  2. Was the will executed in accordance with the formal requirements of the Succession Act 2006?
  3. Was the will altered after it had been signed by the deceased?
  4. Did undue influence play a part in the will when it was drawn up?

Note the time limits

Finally, once you understand whether or not you are eligible to contest a will, and whether the will can actually be contested, it's necessary to understand the time limits. In NSW, you will only have 12 months from the date of death to contest the will.

Given the difficulties involved in wills and estates, whether you're an applicant planning to seek provision out of an estate or even an Executor who needs to deal with a claim, having capable assistance is always useful.

This means reaching out to legal experts in NSW who have the skills and experience required to help you through the process.