Disputed Wills

Disputes over Wills can be complex; legally and emotionally. Jeremy can help you navigate this area of the law to reach a swift and fair resolution.

Claims under the Law Reform (Testamentary Promises) Act 1949

You can challenge the Will of a deceased person if you haven’t received what you were promised by the person who has passed away. For example, if the person promised to reward you from their estate for a service you did for them while they were alive. A good example is where you have been a full time carer over some years. If your case is successful, the court can order the estate to pay you.

Claims under the Family Protection Act 1955

Under this Act, people are responsible for the proper maintenance of certain family members in their Will. If proper provision is not made, then the Will can be challenged by bringing a claim under the Family Protection Act. If you’re successful, the court can order the estate to provide for you.

Other claims

It is possible to challenge a Will if there is evidence that the person making the Will did not have the mental capacity to do so. You could also challenge the Will if you believe that the person making it was under undue influence at the time.

How are these matters settled?

You can make a claim to the Court for resolution. Cases frequently are filed in court but settle by private mediation. This is generally quicker, more cost-effective and less stressful than making or defending a claim in Court.

Jeremy has experience assisting clients to make and defend claims relating to Wills and estates.

The Ex-Files: What happens when there is no Will?

When someone passes away and has not prepared a Will it is called dying ‘intestate’. Before anything can move forward, the Court needs to be satisfied that there is in fact no Will.

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Testamentary Promises: McMillan v Pretty [2019] NZHC 1094

When a person dies, disputes can arise as to the division of their property and the contents of their Will. Sometimes how property is dispersed under the Will does not reflect what a deceased may have promised during their lifetime and in some circumstances, this can give rise to a valid testamentary promises claim.

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Wills and estates – can the dividing of assets in a family will result in one sibling getting the Lion’s share?

The short answer to that question is yes. As Fogarty J says in Martin v Finlayson – “no Court has ever said that an unequal distribution of assets among siblings needs to be morally justified. That is not the law. The law does not contain any moral obligation in that regard at all”.

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Kelvin Hawke

Kelvin Hawke

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My recent dealings with Jeremy regarding client referrals for marriage separation.

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Richard Bullock