A will can be challenged on the basis of undue influence. This challenge can be validated if it is determined that you didn’t act voluntarily with true intentions while making the will and coercion was involved.
A will can also be challenged on the basis of fraud, which can be validated if it is shown that:
- A material fact was intentionally misrepresented
- You were deceived in making your will by such misrepresentation
- You relied on such misrepresentation
- The person who committed the fraud was benefited under the will.
Additionally, some people may feel they haven’t been fairly treated in your will. For example, a family member may have been left out of the will, or a loved one may think they should’ve received more from your estate. In fact, will disputes are becoming increasingly common due to the increasing complexity of the family unit.
People who think they are entitled to a portion of your estate, or a greater portion if they have already been named as a beneficiary, may make a claim against your will, which is referred to as ‘contesting a will’.
And it is not unprecedented for contests such as these to be successful – for example, in the case of the estate of Louis Kennedy, a Double Bay jeweller, his two adult children successfully petitioned the court for a greater share of his $5million estate than the $50,000 he bequeathed them.13 There are likely many cases where the court has decided that the “moral obligation" of a parent’s bequest to adult children is not reflected in the beqeathed (left to someone in a will) amount.13
People who can contest your will include:
- Your current spouse
- A former spouse
- Your current de facto partner
- A former de facto partner
- Your children or step-children
- Your grandchildren who were dependent on you and lived in the
- Someone with whom you were living in a close personal relationship
with at the time of your death.