If you’re considering contesting a will, there’s often some trepidation to go ahead with the challenge. With complicated legal proceedings involved and grief running high through family members and other parties involved, many people shy away from challenging a will even though they believe they have a right to the estate or particular assets of the deceased. 

William Barristers and Solicitors are well versed in estate law matters and can guide you through the steps to challenging a will with minimal stress. We help you and your family reach a fair settlement. If you’re considering challenging a will, there are couple of things to keep in mind.

Challenging a will - How it works

There are three ways to contest a will in South Australia. You can make a Deed of Family Arrangement; have a will declared as invalid; or apply for inadequate provision. In any of these cases, you will need legal advice from a specialised estate lawyer. The most common way to change a challenge a will is to draft a Deed of Family Arrangement.

Deed of Family Arrangement

Under certain conditions, a will can be altered after the testator’s death in an agreement called the Deed of Family Arrangement. For this to happen, all beneficiaries of the will need to be over 18, have full mental capacity and agree to the terms of the arrangement. The deed is drafted by an estate lawyer and takes into account the wishes of all people interested in the inheritance, including beneficiaries, the executor of the estate, trustees and sometimes creditors or other managers of the deceased’s estate.

The deed is useful if there is a disagreement over the will as it means that (with the help of a professional estate lawyer) disputes can be settled without the need to go to court. It’s also an extremely efficient way to alter the terms of the will when all interested parties agree that the terms should be changed. Families should be aware that taxes and stamp duty and capital gains taxes could apply for a Deed of Family Arrangement in South Australia; your estate lawyer will talk you through the costs involved before you’re hit with any fees.

If you can’t meet the conditions to challenge a will on a Deed of Family Arrangement, contact an estate lawyer to discuss other options for legal action you can take, including declaring the will invalid and making an application for inadequate provisions.

Seek professional estate advice

No matter your approach to challenging a will, it’s always necessary to seek legal advice. At Williams Barristers and Solicitors we are well versed in making applications to the Supreme Court of South Australia for Grants of Probate, Letters of Administration and handling all matters surrounding wills and estate law. 

If you’re unsure whether it’s appropriate to challenge a will, call Williams Barristers and Solicitors on (08) 84517609 today. Our experienced wills and estate lawyers in Adelaide will offer expert legal advice and guide you through each step of the way if you decide to go ahead with the challenge.

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