Estate Claims & Litigation

Family Protection

The term "family protection" refers to the law contained in the Family Protection Act 1955 whereby the Court may make provision out of the estate of the deceased person for the proper maintenance and support of certain members of deceased person's family for whom the deceased has failed to provide adequately. The Act aims to ensure that close family members are adequately provided for from a deceased person’s estate.

You can make an application under the Family Protection Act 1955 if you haven’t received anything from a family member’s estate, or if you don’t think you have received enough. The court can order the deceased person’s estate to make adequate provision for you, even if the deceased specifically asked for a person to not be provided for.

In order to be successful you need to satisfy a number of criteria. Firstly, you need to be an ‘eligible’ person within the definition contained in the legislation. We can assist you to identify whether you are an eligible person.

You only have a limited time to make your claim. You must commence proceedings within 12 months from the date of grant of probate.

We can assess your potential Family Protection Act Claim and help you to run your case. In certain circumstances you may be able to reach an amicable settlement with the estate which may prevent you having to file proceedings in the court and we can assist you to determine what an appropriate settlement would be in your circumstances.

For further information or for a free no-obligation quote or consultation, contact us today.

Testamentary Promises Claims

A person can make a claim under the Law Reform (Testamentary Promises) Act 1949 if the deceased promised to leave the claimant something in their Will, in return for services rendered or work done, and has not fulfilled their promise. For example, a claimant may have looked after the deceased when they were ill or in their old age, by taking care of them by cooking or cleaning, and the deceased promised to provide for the claimant in their Will.

Often the difficulty for the claimant is to prove that a promise was made. Evidence of a promise can be either written or oral, expressed or implied. In some cases the Court may be prepared to infer from the surrounding circumstances that there was a promise.

The Court can make any order it believes is just when compensating a claimant, and will consider the following factors:

  • The circumstances in which the promise was made;
  • The performance of the services, which may include intangible things such as companionship;
  • The value of the services or work provided;
  • The value of what was promised;
  • The size of the deceased’s estate;
  • The nature and amounts of the claims of other people on the estate, whether as creditors, beneficiaries, spouse, children, or otherwise.

The claimant must file their claim in Court within 12 months from the date of grant of probate, but in limited circumstances the Court may extend this time.

For further information or for a free no obligation quote or consultation, contact us today.

 

Challenging Legal Validity of a Will

 The Wills Act 2007 sets out certain requirements in respect of the execution of Wills, such as it has to be on a document, in writing and duly signed and witnessed. Failure to comply with these requirements may render the Will invalid or open to be challenged.

Furthermore, the law necessitates that the will-maker possess “testamentary capacity”, which requires the will-maker to be:

  • Over the age of 18 years;
  • Of sound mind, memory and understanding at the time of making the Will;
  • Not subject to undue influence by another person, threats or use of force or circumstances where the will-maker has been mislead into making the Will;
  • With the intention to make the Will (as opposed to merely recording ideas or rough plans)

If you have an interest in an estate and believe the deceased’s Will may not be valid for any of these reasons, our team of experienced Solicitors can assist you to work through these issues and advise you of the appropriate steps to take.

For more information or for a free no obligation quote or consultation, contact us today.

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