What do we mean by “Contentious”?
When we say “contentious” we mean that there is some dispute or uncertainty which needs to be resolved. This may be achieved by negotiation or it may be necessary to obtain court orders. The types of matters which may arise include:
- Challenges to Validity of Will – Sometimes questions arise as to the capacity of a person to make a Will particularly those of advanced years or suffering a condition impacting on their memory and understanding. Often these cases may involve an issue of whether there has been some improper influence asserted over the will maker.
- Family Provision Applications – Sometimes a person (usually the deceased’s spouse, children or financial dependents) may be able to challenge the distribution of an estate on the basis that they have not received adequate maintenance from the estate. The prospects of success of such a claim depend very much upon the individual circumstances of each case. The size of the estate and the financial means of the competing parties are highly relevant matters.
- Informal Wills – New laws introduced in Queensland in 2006 made it possible to seek Court validation of an informally made Will if the deceased intended the document to be their last Will.
- Court Made Wills – Sometimes a person will not have a Will because they are a minor or they lack capacity to make a will. Alternatively a person may have previously done a Will but now lack capacity to change it. Again, new laws introduced in Queensland in 2006, allow an application to the Supreme Court of Queensland for orders making or changing a Will in these circumstances.
- Superannuation – There may be a dispute as to who is entitled to a death benefit arising from the deceased’s membership of a superannuation fund.
- Administration Issues – There may be some dispute about the actual administration of an estate. This could be how long it is taking or how much it is costing. It could be the manner in which an executor or administrator is proceeding.
Why choose Harrisonslaw?
We have vast experience in these types of matters. We have acted for people administering estates and for beneficiaries of and claimants against estates. Our experience enables us to assist you at the earliest point to understand the options and risks and make appropriate decisions. There are some very strict time limits in this area so if it is vital to obtain legal advice as soon as possible.