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Estate Litigation

Disputing a Will

In this day and age disputes and litigation around estates is becoming increasingly common. Whether you are an executor trying to finalise an estate that is being challenged or a potential beneficiary who has unfairly missed our lawyers can skillfully advise and represent you no matter how big or small the legal issue.

We can conduct negotiation on your behalf by making written offers or attending mediation conferences with you. We have helped numerous people settle their legal problems on favorable terms.

Although we try to avoid it, sometimes your matter may need to go to Court and we are experienced court lawyers who can help guide you through the Court process and appear by your side in Court.

We regularly appear in the Courts to represent people at court hearings and conferences and we also have a close working relationship with the best estate litigation barristers in the state.

Some of the way that estate litigation can occur are outlined below:

 

Challenging the validity of a will

Was there potentially something not right about how your loved ones Will was prepared? These could include issues of capacity and undue influence.

There are also various formal requirements to the execution of Wills that need to be adhered to make sure they are valid.

You may be in possession of a loved one's Will and want to check that it is valid or may be subject to a complaint about the Will yourself.

There may be disputes regarding pre-death transactions (inter vivos transactions) that need to be looked at.

In either case Carter Dickens Lawyers is able to give advice on all aspects of the validity of a will.

 

Family provision claims (inheritance)

 

This area of law is increasingly complex as modern family arrangements become more diverse. For example, people are more likely to have second marriages where they need to balance the interests of their new spouse and their children from a former relationship.

Carter Dickens Lawyers have represented people in the Supreme Court in court actions to do with inheritance challenges. We have also given many people our opinion on the legal merit of pursuing or defending a claim. We can let you know who has standing to make a claim and what the pros and cons of litigating are. We also see if there are options to settle the matter without the need to go to Court. In all matters, we ensure any agreement is properly documented.

 

Claiming superannuation death benefits

 

Superannuation now often makes up the majority or a sizable chunk of people’s assets when they pass away. In general, someone can leave their superannuation to be paid into the estate (to be dealt with by their Will) or by making a death benefit nomination to a nominated beneficiary. Oftentimes disputes arise about how superannuation funds are dealt with and in what shares.

Our lawyers are experienced with making submissions to the relevant superannuation trustee board to advocate on our client’s behalf about where superannuation funds should go.

 

Challenges to the conduct of an executor or administrator

Executors have a number of strict obligations on them to promptly and responsibly administer an estate. If an executor is dragging their feet and potentially delaying the finalization of an estate there may be remedies available to you in law or equity to have the executor removed or their accounts reviewed, amongst other remedies. The same is true for the role of trustees of family trusts.

You yourself may be an executor who is trying to do the right thing but have beneficiaries complaining about your conduct and need representation.

We represent both executors and beneficiaries to navigate the legal process.