An estate dispute, also known as probate litigation, arises when there is a disagreement about the distribution of a deceased person’s assets according to their will or trust, or in the absence of a will or trust.
These disputes often involve the deceased’s family members, but they can also include others who believe they have a rightful claim to a portion of the estate.
If you find yourself in an estate dispute, whether you are looking to make a claim against an estate, or defend an estate, we can help.
In Victoria, legislation provides that certain people can make a claim against an estate if they believe they have not been adequately provided for. This is known as a “Family Provision Claim”, which is covered by the Administration and Probate Act 1958 (Vic).
Under the Act, those who may be eligible to make a claim against an estate include:
It’s important to note that just because a person falls into one of these categories, it doesn’t mean that their claim will necessarily be successful. The Court considers a range of factors when deciding whether or not to make an order for provision or further provision from an estate.
Estate disputes are often complex matters that involve many parts and numerous parties. As such, they require experience, care and attention to ensure that all details are accounted for and all angles considered if you wish to get a favourable outcome.
Our estate lawyers have years of experience when it comes to dealing with estate disputes. We have seen practically every kind of estate dispute, which allows us to know what to expect, be very familiar with the intricacies of Victorian estate law, and know what to do to achieve the outcome you want.
This allows us to put together a strong strategy for each particular set of circumstances to get the highest likelihood of success. We account for all potential challenges or roadblocks and do what needs to be done to mitigate them in advance, increasing the chances of a favourable outcome.
Our lawyers are also very skilled in negotiation which allows us to resolve many disputes without having to go through court, by using other means such as mediation. This saves our clients significant time, money and stress.
Estate litigation often involves family members, making it emotionally charged and contentious. Disputes can arise over the interpretation of a will, the division of assets, or the perceived fairness of an estate plan. This can lead to strained family relationships or even permanent rifts. We can help you resolve these disputes, through mediation or litigation if necessary.
These are claims made when someone believes that a will is invalid and wants to contest the will. This can be due to a number of reasons including undue influence, fraud, lack of testamentary capacity, or improper execution of the will, among others. If you are considering contesting a will, speak to us today.
Executors have a fiduciary duty to the estate and its beneficiaries. However, if they fail to perform their duties appropriately, are slow in administering the estate, or are perceived to be acting in their own interests, disputes can arise, and beneficiaries can make a claim. If you believe an executor is not performing their duties, we can help.
Poorly drafted wills or estate plans can leave room for interpretation or disputes. An absence of a will or estate plan can also lead to problems, as state laws will then dictate how assets are distributed, which may not align with the deceased’s wishes. If you find yourself dealing with a poorly drafted will or no will at all, our team can guide you on what’s best to do.
Estate taxes, income taxes on the estate, or mismanagement of these issues can cause financial difficulties and potential disputes among the beneficiaries. We are able to advise you on estate tax related matters.
Identifying, valuing, and distributing assets can be complex, especially if the estate includes diverse assets like businesses, property in different jurisdictions, or valuable personal property. Disagreements over valuation and distribution can often lead to litigation. If you believe that assets of an estate are not being distributed correctly, we are here to help you resolve the matter.
Creditor claims are usually made by people or entities that the deceased owed money to at the time of their death. Creditors may file claims against an estate to recoup what they are owed. If you are owed money by a deceased person and believe you have a right to make a claim, speak to us now.
A surviving spouse may have the right to make a claim against an estate if they believe they have not received an adequate provision from the will or by law. This is often known as a family provision claim or elective share claim. If you are a spouse of a deceased person and don’t believe you received adequate provision, we can provide you with advice on what to do next.
Dependents of the deceased, such as minor children or disabled adult children, may have the right to claim against the estate for their maintenance and support if they are not adequately provided for in the will. We can help you determine if you are eligible to make a claim and advise you on the best course of action.
If the deceased had a trust, beneficiaries or potential beneficiaries might make a claim if they believe the trust is invalid, the trustee is mismanaging the trust, or their interests are not being adequately represented. Speak to our team now if you wish to make a claim against a trust.
Sometimes, a person may claim they are owed compensation from the estate for services they provided to the deceased during their lifetime. This could include care services, housekeeping, or other forms of assistance. If you believe you are owed for services you provided, our team can help you establish if you have a case and advise you on what to do next.
If the deceased was an employer, employees may file claims for unpaid wages or benefits. If you believe you are owed unpaid wages or benefits, our team can help you to make a claim.
If you are an executor or administrator of an estate and someone is making a claim against the estate, we are able to help you to defend it. Speak to our team today to discuss your options and we will advise you on the best course of action.
Estate litigation (or probate litigation) is a legal dispute over the assets, instructions, or beneficiaries of a deceased person’s estate. This can involve challenging the validity of a will, trust disputes, conflicts about asset distribution, or other related issues.
The costs for dealing with an estate dispute can vary greatly, depending on factors including the complexity of the dispute, court costs, costs of mediation or arbitration, and potential costs associated with asset valuation or other expert services.
If you suspect that an executor is not acting in the best interests of the estate or its beneficiaries, you may be able to take legal action to have them removed and replaced. This is something that we can advise you on if you believe this to be the case.
Challenging a will usually involves filing a lawsuit in the probate court, once proper grounds have been established. Grounds for contesting a will can include allegations that the deceased lacked mental capacity to make the will, was under undue influence or that the will is a forgery. If you believe you have grounds for challenging a will, speak to us today.
Yes, often estate disputes can be resolved through negotiation or alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation or arbitration. These can be less costly and less stressful than court litigation, and is something we can help you with and aim for where possible.
Spousal rights typically include the right to a certain portion of the estate, regardless of the will’s content, under the “Family Provision Claim” covered by the Administration and Probate Act 1958 (Vic). If you feel this is the case, we highly recommend getting in contact with us to discuss your options.
If a person dies without a will (known as intestate), the distribution of the assets will be subject to the intestacy laws set out in the Administration and Probate Act 1958, which are based on a hierarchy of relatives who are entitled to inherit the estate. We can help you deal with a situation where there is no will.
Yes, trusts can be contested similarly to wills. Grounds for contesting a trust might include allegations that the creator lacked mental capacity, was under undue influence, or that there are errors in the trust document. If you believe you have grounds to contest a trust, speak to our team today.
To get in contact with us about your estate dispute, either click the button below to call us or fill out the form and we will get back to you as soon as possible!