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Serious business: 4 reasons to enlist an estate lawyer

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A will is so much more than just a document to provision a deceased person’s assets. A will works to illuminate and reflect upon a person’s relationship with the deceased, and should therefore be a fair and accurate reputation of such for each beneficiary.

However, as you may well know from the media and real life scenarios, this is often not the case. There are many reasons why wills are contested, with the person choosing to contest the will holding the belief that they have received an unfair result from the will’s provisioning.

If you feel that you have received an unfair outcome from a recent will reading - and would like to rectify the problem and receive a better result - there is help available through experienced estate lawyers.

Estate lawyers have the skills, knowledge and experience to help you get the best result from the potentially unfair will, as well as provide sound legal advice and guidance throughout the process.

Here are four top reasons why you might need the best wills and estates lawyers Canberra has available:

  1. The will is invalid

When a person creates their will, the will must comply in accordance with legislative requirements. If the person’s will does not comply with legislative requirements, you may have the right to seek redress through your local court.

For example, a will should always be in writing, either typed or handwritten, before being signed by the will-producer or by someone else at the direction of and in the presence of the will-producer.

The will should also be:

  • * Signed in the presence of two or more witnesses;

  • * Signed by two or more witnesses and;

  • * The will should be signed with the aim of executing the will.

  1. Undue influence has influenced the will

As well as the document’s legislative requirements, a series of processional parameters must be met for the will to be valid, something which a court will analyse for their validity.

As well as the will being the deceased's very last will it must also be free of undue influence. This means that if someone who helps the will-producer make the will and attempts to receive a great amount of it, this person may have to prove that they didn’t use deceit, threats, trickery, pressure, fear or force to receive the large amount from the will.

Undue influence can be very hard to prove if there is no testimony from the witness, and is therefore put back onto the claimant to prove that one of the above influencing factors did occur when producing the will.

  1. The will has been misinterpreted

Wills can be read and interpreted differently by those looking to benefit from them. This is only natural, but this can have serious repercussions if not clarified.

The Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory can interpret wills made in the territory. An executor or interested party can apply to the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory to have the will interpreted.

  1. There has been an executor breach of trust

If you believe the executor has acted in a way that is wrong, relatialatory, self-serving or neglectful, you could potentially be able to have this looked into. Emotions are often high when it comes to executing a will, and executors have been known to act in unscrupulous ways by mistake, to benefit themselves or to spite a beneficiary.

This, once again, can be difficult to prove, and another great reason why you need an estate lawyer in such a situation.

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