How to Contest a Will?

Contesting a Will?

Shared by the approachable lawyers at Auckland law firm Quay Law. Ph 09 523 2408.

By general definition, a will contest, in the law of property, is a formal objection raised against the validity of a will, based on the contention that the will does not reflect the actual intent of the testator (the party who made the will).

As a starting point there are usually a few common legal grounds used to challenge a will.

Family Protection Act Claim: This is where close relatives of the deceased can challenge a will if they consider that the will-maker had a moral duty to have made greater provision for them in their last will and testament.

Testamentary Promises Act Claim: This is where someone claims that they had provided significant services to the deceased, relying on a promise that they would be rewarded in the last will and testament.

Property Relationship Act Claim: In this situation a surviving partner/spouse has to decide whether to accept the provision made for them under the deceased’s last will and testament or challenge the will in the New Zealand court.

The legal documents typically associated with this type of claim are: contracting out agreements, family trusts, LAQCs and other legal structures set in place during the deceased’s life.

Whilst claims typically fall into the areas or categories above, let us take a moment to reflect on the more common causes of disputes over an estate or a will: –

1. There is no will at all;
2. The final will is invalid;
3. A party believes the will is grossly unfair; or
4. The final will is contradictory to our New Zealand legislation.

As the elements and situational facts, involved with the contesting of a will are varied and each situation is unique we recommend that you take professional legal advice prior to making any such challenge.

Our approachable Auckland lawyers are able to assist you and guide you in this process . For more information please contact your Auckland law firm Quay Law.