PERTH FAMILY PROVISION CLAIMS, ESTATE AND INHERITANCE DISPUTES
In addition to the preparation of Wills, we can assist with disputes arising from estate matters, whether it be:
- Challenging a Will or 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 is eligible to challenge a Will. The Family Provision Act 1972 (WA) sets out who is eligible to seek provision from a deceased person’s estate.
Once it is determined that a person is eligible to make a Family Provision claim, then the next step is to determine whether they would be entitled to a greater portion than the provision already provided for them in the deceased’s Will.
Our experienced team of estate litigation lawyers can provide you with the necessary advice to determine whether it is worthwhile making a claim against a deceased person’s estate, considering all the facts involved.
Book an initial consultation with one of our lawyers to find out more.
Disputing Estate Accounts – Passing of Accounts
An executor or administrator owes a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries and other stakeholders, such as creditors, of a deceased estate.
If you feel that an executor or 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 or administrator won’t provide a full and proper accounting, you may make an application to the Supreme Court for a passing of accounts.
Application for Removal of the executor and/or the administrator
In limited circumstances the executor or administrator of an estate may be removed. It may be that they can no longer act, which is a simple enough application, however, if it is because the beneficiaries suspect that the executor or administrator is failing their duties, then an application to the Court needs to be made with sufficient evidence.
Determination of who the beneficiaries are (including de facto)
Different terminology used in Wills can make it difficult to determine who the beneficiaries of a deceased estate were intended to be, who they actually are and what the specific bequests consist of.
- where the word “issue” as opposed to “children” is used.
- where the deceased bequests more than 100% of their estate, such as 50% to my wife, 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.
Discuss your needs with our Perth firm
We may be able to offer a no win no fee policy for eligible family provision and inheritance dispute claims. Contact our Perth or Fremantle lawyers today to book an appointment to discuss your family provision and/or inheritance disputes and to see if you are eligible for a no win no fee cost agreement. You can contact us on (08) 9335 6643, email us at email@example.com or use the below contact form.