Human relationships can be complicated and, when money is involved, even more so. It's unsurprising, therefore, that the last will and testament of an individual can be subject to question and such a matter can end up in a court of law. If you believe that you should have been accounted for in a particular person's will, is there anything that you can do, and how should you proceed? Read on to learn more about will disputes and what you can do about it.
Unravelling the law
If this situation can indeed be complex, so can the law. There is a great deal of legislation involved, and part of this will deal with eligible applicants when it comes to contesting such a will.
These laws will vary between the different states and territories, and it is essential to consult with a knowledgeable lawyer in the given area before taking any further action. However, in general, only certain individuals can be considered, should they want to make an application for provision from the estate.
At the top of the list will typically be the partner of the deceased, or somebody who was in a recognised domestic relationship with them. This will obviously mean their spouse, but it could also mean someone who was a domestic partner in the past, so long as the relationship lasted for at least a couple of years. Furthermore, a person can be considered eligible if they had produced a child with the deceased, even if this was in the past, and they had not been involved in any way during recent times.
It's all in the definition
It may be necessary to define the nature of the domestic relationship before a court will consider any action. Usually, it means the type of relationship where one adult may give financial (or other) support or a commitment to the benefit of the other party. This will need to be defined very carefully as if financial transactions were deemed to be more of a payment rather than a commitment, then the claim may not be valid.
How to proceed
If you were involved in a domestic relationship with the deceased and feel that you've been hard done by in their will, talk with a qualified attorney. You need to be sure about the exact nature of the relationship and may need to provide evidence at the same time if you want a court to consider that your claim has any merit. Be as prepared as possible to stand the best chance of success.