There are many grounds upon which an estate may be contested, including:
- Under relationship property laws, where a surviving spouse or partner can apply for a division of relationship property if they are not satisfied with what they have been left under the will.
- The Family Protection Act 1955, which allows certain family members who have not been properly provided for under a will to seek provision from an estate for support and maintenance.
- The Law Reform (Testamentary Promises) Act 1949, which provides a mechanism for people to seek provision from an estate if the deceased promised to reward them for a service undertaken while they were alive, but failed to record this in their will.
- Questions as to the validity of a will, which can incorporate testamentary capacity issues, incorrectly signed or witnessed documents, or draft documents that nevertheless represent the deceased’s testamentary intentions.
Common situations we come across are where family members have been left out of wills entirely, grandchildren have not been provided for despite their own parents being deceased and where people have prepared draft wills, but passed away before signing them.
It is important to get early advice in respect of these matters, so that you are aware of the relevant time limits for raising a claim and any steps that can be taken in order to preserve your position.
If you would like further information or advice, please contact our Wellington based family lawyers Debbie Dunbar, email firstname.lastname@example.org, phone (04) 495 9940 or Maretta Twentyman, email email@example.com, phone (04) 495 8918.
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