The Role of a Beneficiary when a Will is Disputed

When someone passes away, it is not uncommon for the will of the deceased to be contested. If you are one of the listed beneficiaries in the will, any determinations that alter the distribution of the estate, can have an impact on what you were previously set to be provided with.

In this video John Gallagher outlines the details of how a Family Provision Application is approached, and the role that the Beneficiary can play during the period of dispute.

Ultimately it is the Executor who is deemed with the responsibility to defend the application. But a Beneficiary may seek their own legal representation to present their case.

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Do you stand to receive a gift under a will but find that someone who has been left out of the will is challenging it in Court?

Some beneficiaries stand to lose out if the court makes an order to change the way assets are to be distributed from the estate.

Beneficiaries are obviously very interested in the outcome of such cases, but are not automatically parties to the court proceedings.

Technically, it is the executor named in the will, who defends the court application and seeks to uphold the will.

The executor must notify beneficiaries that the application has been made and should present to the court all evidence relevant to the issues raised by the applicant.

This will include information about the financial position and needs of the beneficiaries and other relevant evidence that the beneficiaries may bring to the executor’s attention, such as evidence about the relationship between the deceased and the applicant and other family members.

In some cases, the beneficiary may feel that they need to have legal representation separate from the executor.

This is certainly possible, but it is important to be aware that you may have to pay your own legal costs, even if the will is upheld.

Also, there are strict time limits set for when notice must be given to the court about being separately represented.

Disputed wills can be highly stressful, so it’s always a good idea to get some good advice.

If you require any further information please contact us on 07 5443 9988 or [email protected].

Argon Law is a Sunshine Coast law firm based in Maroochydore.  We are commercial lawyers, body corporate lawyers and property lawyers and are eager to assist you in any way we can.


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