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Can I avoid someone contesting my Will?

Kylie Bremner
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14 November 2023

While it is not possible to completely prevent someone from contesting a Will, there are certain steps you can take to minimise the likelihood of a successful challenge.  Here are a few measures you may consider:

Update your Will regularly

Your Will should be reviewed and updated periodically to reflect any changes in your circumstances.  This can help ensure your Will reflects your intentions at the time of your passing.

Seek professional legal assistance

Engage one of our experienced estate planning solicitors to help you draft your Will.  We will ensure that it complies with all legal requirements and is less vulnerable to challenges.

Clearly state your intentions

We will ensure your intentions are clearly expressed using unambiguous language.  This can help reduce the potential for misrepresentation or disputes over your wishes.

Proper record keeping and witnessing

We will keep appropriate records regarding your appointments and the instructions you give us to draft your Will.  We will also provide independent witnesses when you sign.  This can add credibility to the signing of your Will and may deter challenges based on lack of testamentary capacity or undue influence.

Obtain medical documentation

Let us know if anyone in your family may have concerns about your mental capacity at the time of making your Will.  We will ensure you obtain medical documentation to demonstrate your competence and understanding.

Consider potential challengers

Let us know of anyone who may have a higher likelihood of contesting your Will, such as disgruntled family members or dependents who may feel inadequately provided for.  We will discuss with you steps to address their concerns and how best to minimise the effect of any potential challenges.

Who can contest my Will?

In Queensland, the Succession Act 1981 governs the rules and regulations surrounding Wills and estate planning.  Under this Act, various parties can potentially contest a Will.  Depending on the particular circumstances, these parties may include:

  • Spouses:  a husband, wife, civil partner or de facto partner of the deceased person;
  • Children:  any biological or adopted child of the deceased;
  • Stepchildren:  including children of a de facto spouse; and
  • Dependents:  including any person under 18 years of age, parents, former spouses.

It is important to note that contesting a Will involves legal proceedings, and the Court will consider various factors, including the relationship between the deceased person and the claimant, the financial circumstances of the claimant, and the deceased person's intentions as expressed in the Will or otherwise demonstrated.

Remember, estate planning and Wills can be complex.  Contact one of the solicitors in our estate planning team on (07) 4963 2000 or via the link below.  We have up to date knowledge of the relevant laws and will provide personalised advice based on your specific circumstances to draft a Will that is less susceptible to challenges.