Teece Hodgson & Ward offers legal leadership in Family Provision claims.
Although the starting point is that each person has the freedom to decide to whom they will leave property to when making their will, in fact this freedom is restricted by laws in Australia.
In NSW for example, the Succession Act 2006 allows “eligible persons” to take court action against an estate to try to vary terms of a will to obtain more than they would otherwise receive under the will or when they have been left out of it. The court may order additional provision for that person (at the expense of other beneficiaries) where the court is of the view that adequate and proper provision was not made by the ‘testator’ (or person making the will) for a particular person eligible to make the claim.
Categories of “eligible persons” who can make Family Provision claims are:
- the wife or husband of the deceased
- a de facto partner of the deceased
- children of the deceased (which can include children who are not the deceased’s own children).
Provided the claimant can show factors warranting making an application; other persons are also eligible:
- a former wife or husband of the deceased
- a person who was at any particular time wholly or partly dependent on the deceased and is:
– a grandchild of the deceased
– a member of the household of which the deceased was a member
– a person with whom the deceased was living in a close personal relationship at the time of the death.
As this list shows, the potential range of claimants is wide. It is important that people making their wills and executors and beneficiaries involved in estates consider whether there are any likely “eligible persons” and obtain expert advice if a claim is made.
As experts in estates law, Teece Hodgson & Ward acts for executors of many estates in advising on and defending claims made against those estates.
We also advise claimants on their rights and, where appropriate, act for claimants in court proceedings in NSW.
Teece Hodgson & Ward has many Accredited Specialists in Wills and Estates Law who help clients through all aspects of Family Provision claims and to prevent such problems.
How we can help
Our team, led by Richard Neal an accredited specialist in Wills and Estate Law, can provide you with expert information and reliable advice about family provisions claims.