Shock, hurt and anger are some of the emotions that may be felt by someone whose only remaining parent recently died, and the child of the deceased learns that they have been deliberately left out of their parent’s Will. If this happens, there may be a course of action available to you. Here’s what’s involved.

If someone decides that they do not wish to leave any part of their estate to one of their children or dependents, then they are entitled to stipulate this in their Will. However, as a child (amongst other eligible persons) of the deceased, if you believe they have failed to make adequate provision for your proper maintenance, education or advancement in life, you may be eligible to make a family provision claim.

The first steps to making a family provision claim are:

  • To contact the executor and/or the solicitor acting for the estate (if there is one) to try and obtain a copy of the Will; and
  • To start gathering evidence about the estate, your relationship with the deceased and your financial circumstances.

It is important to act quickly as there is a risk that the deceased’s estate could be distributed to someone else and strict time limits apply in which to contest a Will. In accordance with the Inheritance (Family Provision Act 1972 (SA), an application must be made within 6 months after the grant of probate or letters of administration.

An initial consultation with a Scammell & Co Wills and Estates lawyer will provide the opportunity to discuss the nature of your dispute or grievance; identify and assess the size and nature of the deceased’s estate (and any competing claims). They can then advise whether you have grounds to bring a claim against the estate, and the best way to resolve your dispute.

If you have a genuine claim, they will prepare the necessary court documents including evidence confirming your relationship with the deceased, your financial circumstances, and your current and future needs. These will be filed on your behalf to formally commence legal proceedings.

Your lawyer will conduct your case in court in a way which ensures that the dispute is finalised as quickly as possible with a minimum of costs and fuss. In this regard, it is generally compulsory for all matters to go to mediation before significant legal costs are incurred.

Scammell & Co understands that the loss of a loved one is an emotional and stressful time, made more difficult when you have been left out of your parent’s Will, or your parent’s estate is to be distributed unfairly. Therefore, our lawyers will handle your claim with compassion, understanding and respect, whilst ensuring you get your fair entitlements.

For further information about our contested Wills and Estates services click here.