Can I avoid my will being contested?

Maureen is seeking specialist advice on preparing her will. YourLifeChoices’ estate planning expert Rod Cunich offers guidance. 

Q. Maureen:

I want to know if there is a certain amount I can bequeath so my will cannot be contested.

 …

A: There is a common misconception that if you leave someone a small amount of money in your will that it will prevent them challenging the will. Whether you leave them nothing or something makes no difference. If they believe they are entitled to more, then they can commence proceedings to challenge your will.

Certain family members, by virtue of statutory right, and others (who can demonstrate to the courts that they have an entitlement to a share of your estate) can challenge your will.

In assessing their claim, the court looks at about 18 different factors. It is a complex exercise that involves as much art as it does science.

If the challenger satisfies the court that they have an entitlement, the court will make orders to ensure they receive their entitlement regardless of the sum left to them in your will.

 

Disclaimer: This information has been provided by Rod Cunich and should be considered general in nature. Seek legal advice before acting on this information.

Rod Cunich is a lawyer with more than 30 years’ experience in estate planning. If you have a question for Rod, simply email it to [email protected]

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All content on the YourLifeChoices’ website is of a general nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It has been prepared with due care, but no guarantees are provided for ongoing accuracy or relevance. Before making a decision based on this information, you should consider its appropriateness with regard to your circumstances. You should seek professional advice from a financial planner, lawyer or tax agent in relation to any aspects that affect your financial and legal circumstances. Financial comments provided by readers cannot be relied on as professional advice, but as general comments only.

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