Will Disputes (TFM CLAIM)

Estate Disputes and Challenging a Will (Testator Family Provision Claims (TFM Claims))

Estate Disputes usually arise when someone asserts that they are entitled to a (or greater) share in the Estate or there is a disagreement relating to the administration of the estate.

They may not have been in the Will or they may claim that they have not received a sufficient share of the Estate, in their opinion.

When disputes arise they can be for the following reasons:

  • A beneficiary that believes their provision is insufficient;
  • A person who has been left out of the will;
  • A claim from a creditor (where the debt is not accepted by the executor);
  • The validity of the will or the mental capacity of the deceased at the time of making the will is disputed;
  • An executor has breached their duty; or
  • A Dispute between executors regarding the administration of the Estate.
Will Disputes

There are many instances where a dispute may arise surrounding the administration of an estate or obtaining probate.

We can assist clients who have a disagreement with or between the executor/s or a creditor of the estate.

Estate Claims or an inheritance dispute (TFM Claims)

Estate claims or where a person challenges a will and is related to an inheritance dispute.

Estate Claims are where one party makes a claim on a deceased persons Estate is also known as Testator’s Family Maintenance (or TFM) claim.

Who pays when a will is challenged?

The legal fees or costs from challenging a will can be taken from the total asset pool of the deceased. As these claims diminish the value of the asset pool it is important that claims are handled pragmatically and in a commercial way.

Reaching a fast resolution to claims will help to preserve the value of the assets for the beneficiaries to enjoy.
We can help if you are:

  • An Executor who has been advised that a claim will be brought against the Estate or have been served with court documents
  • You believe you have a claim against an Estate and want to discuss your options.

Who can challenge a will in Victoria?

Certain people are entitled to bring a claim against an estate or dispute the administration or distribution of the estate. In Victoria those that are eligible are:

  • Spouse
  • Former spouse
  • Child
  • Parent
  • Grandchild
  • Stepchildren

Person in a relationship with the deceased who may have be partly or wholly financially supported by the deceased.

We have represented both the Estate and for individuals bringing claims against the estate, so we understand both sides of the argument.

Time Limits Apply

There are certain time limits where a person can bring a claim against an estate. If you believe you have been unfairly left out of an estate or did not get what you thought you were entitled to you should seek advice early.

The time limit is six months from the date probate is granted to the executor/s of the estate.

Some claims can be brought after this date only if approved by the Supreme Court in certain extreme circumstances.

How do you get a copy of a Will?

I can be quite awkward asking for a copy of a will, particularly if you are not included in the Will.

Fortunately, under Victorian Laws (Section 50 of the Wills Act:1997 (VIC)) certain people have the right to be given a copy or inspect the Will:

A person who has possession and control of a will, a revoked will or a purported will of a deceased person must allow the following persons to inspect and make copies of the will (at their own expense)—
(a) any person named or referred to in the will, whether as beneficiary or not;
(b) any person named or referred to in any earlier will as a beneficiary;
(c) any spouse of the testator at the date of the testator’s death;
S. 50(d) amended by No. 27/2001 s. 3(Sch. 1 item 14.4).
(d) any domestic partner of the testator;
(e) any parent, guardian or children of the deceased person;
(f) any person who would be entitled to a share of the estate if the deceased person had died intestate;
(g) any parent or guardian of a minor referred to in the will or who would be entitled to a share of the estate of the testator if the testator had died intestate;
(h) any creditor or other person who has a claim at law or in equity against the estate of the deceased person and who produces evidence of that claim.

If you are not given a copy of the will or granted permission to see the Will then you should obtain the help of a lawyer to enforce your right.

Our estate lawyers can help resolve will disputes or challenges to wills effectively and efficiently.

Please call us today on 1300 907 335 to discuss your matter or alternatively contact us by filling out the form on this page.

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