It is often said that blood is thicker than water but when it comes to the execution of a will, there are times when this statement seems trite and superficial. Though it does not happen all of the time, there are circumstances where a will might be contested on legal grounds. One of the most common is where a dependent, who would normally expect to be provided for as part of the will, is left out entirely or does not receive what he or she feels that he or she should.
What Is a Family Provision Claim?
When a loved one passes away, there is a period of grieving that is different for everyone. Though most of us hate to consider it, some families become embroiled in will disputes that become ugly and even hostile. This is a difficult and highly charged area of law that requires expert legal practitioners with plenty of experience.
In NSW and some other states, the Family Provision Act states that we have a moral obligation to provide for our dependents from our estates after we pass away. This seems reasonable and ensures that sons, daughters, and other dependents are looked after and cared for when a person related to them passes away.
Of course, the will itself is always intended to be a true reflection of the wishes of the person; this sometimes conflicts with the Family Provision Act in that there are times when the will does not provide for dependents at all or provides much less than would be morally expected.
Making a Claim
There are a few reasons why a dependent may either be left out of a will or be left very little in the way of financial support, including:
- The will writer was unduly influenced by another family member or external source to change the will in order to advantage himself or herself
- The will writer prepared a will himself or herself and deliberately left out one or more dependents for personal reasons
To make a family provision claim in NSW, it is important to bear in mind that there are timeframes. The passing of a loved one is often very difficult to deal with and though this is not a time when someone might seek legal advice, the fact is that a claim of this nature needs to be made as soon as possible.
In most cases, the emotional fallout can be huge but it is important to remember that there is a good reason why the Family Provision Act exists. All relationship dynamics aside, the basic notion that dependents should be provided fairly for in the case of the passing of a loved one is morally sound.