It isn’t necessary to know all the details of the history of wills, but it is interesting to note that the concept reaches all the way back to Greece and Rome in ancient times. There were specific guidelines for wills at that time, just as there are now. Men over the age of 20 were allowed to dispose of their assets by way of a will; women were not, regardless of their respective age. Fortunately, that has changed.
Many of the other rules also changed as time went on, especially in the Roman Empire. But much of what is common legal practice regarding wills has developed in more recent times. Some of the basics that apply just about everywhere include the stipulation that you usually don’t contest a will just because you feel it is unfair. However, there can even be exceptions to this rule.
Keep in mind preliminary information is not intended to be legal advice. Laws vary from one location to another, and it is always best to consult with a legal professional knowledgeable in your particular area. (Rules and guidelines can vary in each state or territory.)
You may feel the will was not carried through correctly, or the current will is not the final will of the deceased person. Some people may feel they have a legitimate reason for contesting a will because there was undue influence on the person who made the document or that tampering took place. Any of these will be a good reason to consult with an experienced legal professional, especially one who focuses on this special area of the law.
Some leading providers of specialty legal services also offer to work with your case for 90 days without charge, which can be a good way for you to find out if you have strong enough reason to proceed. According to regulations in New South Wales and Queensland, for example, you can contest a will if there are solid reasons that have a foundation in certain areas.
“Unfair” is one of the words that comes up quite often when discussing wills. The law states you may contest a will if the situation is grossly unfair. It is also possible to contest a will if there are extreme financial needs among family members or if dependents were significantly dependent on the deceased person.
As mentioned earlier, there are specific laws relating directly to the question of fairness. Detailed guidelines also exist to address questions of mental capacity as well as financial dependency. It would be wise to consult an experienced legal professional to find out if any of these apply to your situation.
It may seem difficult, at first, to consider engaging in a contest of this type, but even when you feel the reasons might not be quite strong enough to overcome your doubts, you can visit with a legal expert to discuss the details. They will listen to your ideas and make recommendations on how to proceed. Keep in mind that they may offer a quite attractive “no win-no fee” option.