FAMILY PROVISION CLAIMS, ESTATE AND INHERITANCE DISPUTES

In addition to assisting with preparing Wills, we can also help with disputes arising from estate matters, whether it be:

  • Disputing or challenging unfair Wills – Making a Family Provision Claim
  • Disputing estate accounts – Passing of Accounts
  • Application for removal of the executor and/or the administrator
  • Determining the beneficiaries such as advising on whether a person is considered a “de-facto” within the realm of inheritance law
  • Seeking review of the superannuation trustee’s decisions
Challenging a Will or Making a Family Provision Claim

Not everyone can challenge a Will. The Family Provision Act 1972 (WA) sets out who is entitled to seek provision from a deceased person’s estate.

Once it is determined that a person belongs to the class of persons who may bring a Family Provision claim, then the next step is to determine whether they would be eligible for a greater portion than the provision already provided for them in the deceased’s Will.

Our experienced team of estate litigation lawyers are able to provide you with the advice you require to determine whether it is worthwhile making a claim against a deceased person’s estate.

If you would like to find out what your rights are, please contact us on (08) 9335 6643 or email us at info@fourlionlegal.com.au.

Disputing Estate Accounts – Passing of Accounts

An executor or an administrator owes fiduciary duties to the beneficiaries and other stakeholders of the estate, such as creditors.

If you feel that the executor and administrator has not properly kept the accounts of the estate, for example, has used estate funds to pay for their own personal debts, then there are avenues to hold them to be accountable.

After initial conferral, if the executor and/or administrator won’t provide a full and proper accounting, you may make an application to the Supreme Court for a passing of accounts.

If you would like to find out what your rights are, please contact us on (08) 9335 6643 or email us at info@fourlionlegal.com.au.

Application for Removal of the executor and/or the administrator

In limited circumstances the executor and/or the administrator of an estate may be removed. It maybe that they can no longer act, which is a simple enough application, however, if it is because the beneficiaries suspect that the executor and/or the administrator is failing their duties, then an application to the Court needs to be made with sufficient evidence.

Determination of Who the Beneficiaries Are

Different terminology used in Wills can make it difficult to determine who the beneficiaries of an estate are and what the specific bequests are.

For example:

  • 1. where the word “children” as opposed to “issue” is used, then consideration needs to be given to the intention of the deceased.
  • 2. where the deceased bequests more than 100% of their estate, such as 50% to my wife and 40 % to my daughter and 40% to my step son.

A deceased may have lived with their boyfriend or girlfriend whilst they were alive, but that does not necessary mean that they were in a de-facto relationship.

We regularly provide advice in relation to the interpretation of the terms of a Will.

Seeking review of the Superannuation Trustee’s Decision

If the only asset of the estate is a superannuation benefit and there is no Will, then sometimes it may not be necessary to seek letters of administration and you can seek the trustee to make payment directly to the beneficiary.

Issues arise in circumstances where some years have passed since the deceased provided a binding death nomination, particularly if the deceased’s relationship with their spouse or de-facto altered during this period.

For example, if a deceased nominated their de-facto partner in the binding death nomination, however, permanently separated subsequent to signing it and sometime later died, then should the superannuation benefit be paid to the ex-de-facto partner? The issue with superannuation benefit is that the decision is up to the superannuation trustee.

We have experience in challenging superannuation trustee’s decisions with respect to pay outs and if you or your loved ones do not believe a just and reasonable decision has been made by the superannuation trustee, please contact us. Our experienced team will be able to assist you determine whether it is worthwhile and cost effective to seek a review of the decision.It is important to note that there are strict time limits for seeking a review of the superannuation trustee’s decision so it is important to obtain legal advice as soon as a decision is made.

If you would like to find out what your rights are, please contact us on (08) 9335 6643 or email us at info@fourlionlegal.com.au.