In NSW it is possible to challenge a will on a number of grounds. You can challenge an Estate where a person has left a Will, and also an 'intestate' Estate where there is no Will.
These claims used to be made under the Family Provisions Act and so you will hear them called 'family provision claims', but actually they are currently covered by the Succession Act.
The Succession Act states that certain categories of people, such as children or spouses, have the right to make a claim if they were left out of the will or provision for them in the will is inadequate. Some other people can make a claim on the basis that they were a ‘dependent’ on the deceased and that the estate ought to make further provision for them.
The Courts have expressed concerns about the growing legal fees in this area, and recent media reports have suggested that in some matters the legal fees have reached $80,000 or $100,000 prior to any court hearing.
Following the success of our fixed fees for all family law matters that settle, we thought that our clients might also appreciate some certainty in this area. We now offer fixed fees in relation to these claims, up to and including commencing proceedings, and the court appointed mediation. Ordinarily in a family provision matter our new fixed fees up to the stage of court appointed mediation would be $18,000 in professional costs, plus GST plus disbursements (like court fees or barrister’s fees). We note that the vast majority of family provision claims settled at the court appointed mediation.
As an experienced commercial litigator in the Supreme Court Jacinta is also very helpful in Estate matters. She understands the nature of Estates including complex corporate or commercial enterprises, and can help you to make decisions based upon the economic reality of these matters. While litigation in Estate matters is growing and it is tempting to fight for what is “right” or what the deceased person wanted, Jacinta is an experienced lawyer who is ready to fight your case, but she also understands the cost of litigation both financially and emotionally and can help you to make well informed decisions regarding the administration of Estates and management of litigation or settlement negotiations surrounding Estates.