This is the question that as lawyers we get asked rather frequently and up until 2015 there were a wide ranging number of people who could make a claim against a person’s Estate. All of this changed in 2015 and the class of people eligible to make a claim against a person’s Estate narrowed significantly.
We call this “contesting a will” and there is a fixed category of people who can do so. You can make a claim to contest a will if:
- You are the spouse or the domestic partner of a person at the time of their death
- You are a child or a step-child of a person who has died
- You are someone who believes for a substantial period of a deceased person’s life that they were the child of the deceased person and that they were treated by the deceased as a natural child
- A former spouse or domestic partner in circumstances where a property settlement was not reached with the deceased following separation
- A registered caring partner of the deceased person
- A grandchild of the deceased
- A spouse or domestic partner of a child of the deceased (if the child dies within one year of the deceased’s death)
- A member of the household in which the deceased was or had been in the past and would likely be in the near future also a member
Now while you may fall into one of the categories of those who can make a claim does not mean that you will automatically be eligible, it really is only a starting point.
Whether or not you can make a claim against an Estate depends on a deceased person’s personal circumstances. The days of being able to contest a great uncle’s Estate because he was a multi-millionaire are well and truly over and you will need to speak with your lawyer or a member of our Will & Powers of Attorney team about what approach you can make in this area. Call us on 03 5445 1000.