It is extremely disturbing when you hear the unpleasant news that your inheritance is being challenged by a third party and you may lose your inheritance.
People can make a claim against a Will in situations where the Will is valid but the provisions stated in the Will are unfair. In such situations, the Court can make few changes in the Will or can distribute the estate in favour of those people.
Eligible Persons Who Can Claim against Inheritance and Grounds for Making Such Claim
The primary intention of the laws pertaining to Wills and Estate is to ensure that the property of a deceased person is distributed according to the intention and wish of the deceased person to avoid the risk of fraud and to minimise mismanagement. But this is partly true as eligible people who can challenge your inheritance and can make a claim against your inheritance.
Eligible people can make a claim against the properties you propose to inherit on the following grounds:
- If the above mentioned people were dependent on the deceased from whom you propose to inherit;
- If the share of the deceased’s property is not adequate for the maintenance and support of the people;
- If the relationship between the deceased and the people began after the last Will was made;
- If the Will does not provide enough for the people who are ex-partners or children from previous marriages or de facto relationships;
- If the people believe that the Will is grossly unfair;
- If the people can prove that the Will maker was not in sound mind when the Will was prepared;
- If the people can prove that the Will maker was unduly influenced by one or more of the other beneficiaries of the Will; or
- If the Will is not clear.
To protect your inheritance against a claim, it is always recommended to seek independent legal advice regarding these matters if:
- You suspect that the executor of the Will of the deceased from whom you propose to inherit, has not taken proper measures to protect your inheritance;
- You come to know that there is a possibility of a challenge or a claim against the properties which you propose to inherit;
- You believe that you have not been kept updated regarding the progress of the dispute relating to the properties which you propose to inherit;
- In case the executor does not share your view point regarding the way to administer the estate; or
- the executor does not share your view point regarding the proper way to protect the estate.
Protect Your Inheritance against a Claim
In some circumstances, it may not be possible for you to stop the challenge being made against your inheritance but you can always make arrangements to limit or even prevent the challenge from being successful.
Following are the three Alternative Dispute Resolution methods through which you can resolve the disputes regarding the properties which you propose to inherit, prior to resorting to Court proceedings:
- Arbitration; and
You should not make any delay at all in obtaining expert assistance, if you feel that your entitlement under a Will is challenged. Contact our team of experts at Owen Hodge Lawyers to provide you guidance in this matter.