For individuals over 18 years of age the best way to ensure that your belongings and estate is distributed adequately amongst your family and friends is to have a valid will. Your last testament is more than just a piece of paper that states who will be getting your belongings. It is a piece of personal security that that will protect your closest family and friends’ best interest.
However things always don’t go to plan with last testaments with many people feeling left out and simply undervalued. If your family or friends is caught up in a dispute it may be worth enlisting the services of a will dispute lawyer. Hiring any kind of service after the death of a loved one can be a hard and very stressful time.
When your judgment is clouded with all kinds of emotion you can end up jumping to conclusions or the first attorney that you find. There is a lot of information that should you familiarize yourself with before you make an important decision like this. Further on we are going to explore everything that you need to know when you are looking at hiring a will dispute lawyer.
What goes into making a last testament?
We previously mentioned that a last testament is a personal security document that is responsible for ensuring that your personal valuables and estate is given to those that you intend. Making a last testament has several important steps in order for it to valid. If these factors aren’t upheld the document will be invalid and the estate will be distributed in accordance with the estate manager. The factors that need to be upheld are:
- The document must be in writing (this includes being handwritten, typed or printed)
- The document must be written by an individual who is over the age of 18
- The document must be signed in the presence of two witnesses (the witnesses must also sign the document)
Generally speaking, law firms that have will dispute lawyers are also equipped in dealing with creating estates. Firms are now updating their services to be able to create legally binding documents online. This feature allows you many people who don’t get the chance to meet with a will dispute lawyer in person to still be able to use their expertise.
Estates can also be planned through these firms to ensure that your legacy is set up in the events of your passing. Seeking professional advice will ensure that everything is accounted for and that your belongings will reach those that they are intended for.
How to contest a will with a will dispute lawyer
For many people that feel like they have been unfairly left out of the will, they may seek to file a dispute. When you believe that there is ground to dispute a family member’s last testament it is highly recommended that you seek legal advice. This area of the law is constantly changing so it is important that you have someone in your corner who is constantly researching and practicing the changes that the field brings.
There are many different approaches that a will dispute lawyer can take to ensure that your dispute is valid and brings the result that you desire. Some of these approaches include contesting the validity of the testament altogether.
Reasons for contesting a last testament
If you believe that you have been unfairly left out of a loved one’s final testament it is possible that you can contest it. Some possible reasons for filing dispute can include the following:
- A breach of trust; you can claim that an executor or trustee failed to administer the trust of the passed individual.
- Claims of the being under the influence; situations where the deceased was a victim of fraud or coercion.
- Lacking of testamentary capacity; the claimant can file for dispute if they believe the last testament was made when the deceased was in no capacity to understand their actions.
- Testator’s family maintenance; the claimant can also move to dispute if they believe that they have not been appropriately provided for.
Assets that are not covered
People often confuse what can be covered in a last testament. To avoid even more potential heart break, be sure to read up on what assets are not covered and consult with your will dispute lawyer.
A few examples of things that aren’t covered include;
- Superannuation funds that are intended to go to a spouse or child.
- Assets owned by trusts; they remain a part of your trust and thus are not covered from an estate
- Assets owned by trusts or companies that you own; shares of companies and trusts however are covered by the estate
- Life insurance proceeds that have already been paid directly to a nominated individual.