Our Services

At STOLaw, we provide legal advice in most areas of law. We have a large, experienced team of lawyers who will listen to you and help you with your case.

Estate Disputes

Have you been left out of a Will or felt that it was unfairly written? Are you involved in an Estate dispute or are you thinking of thinking of contesting or challenging a Will? Are you involved in an Estate Dispute where there is no Will? If so, we may be able to assist you on a "no win, no fee basis".

Can a will be challenged?

There is a difference in challenging the validity and challenging the terms (i.e: distribution) of a Will.

Circumstances where the validity of a Will may be challenged

The validity of a Will may be challenged for a number of reasons including:-

  • The formal requirements for execution of the Will were not met;
  • The Will maker was unduly influenced or coerced into making their Will; or
  • The Will maker did not have the required mental capacity to make the Will.

Circumstances where the proposed distribution of a Will may be challenged

If a Will is validly executed, certain persons who are dissatisfied with the terms of the Will (ie the amount that has been provided to them of an estate under a Will) are eligible to ‘challenge’ the distribution.

This is known as making a Family Provision Application.

This involves seeking an order from the court that you be given a greater share from the estate than what has been provided for in the Will.

The Court, in determining whether any challenge will succeed will take into account a number of factors.

These factors, in general terms, include:-

  • the age of any “challenger”;
  • their financial circumstances;
  • their state of health;
  • their ability to earn and generate an income;
  • whether they were dependent on the deceased for maintenance and support;
  • whether a challenger has contributed to the size of the estate of the deceased;
  • the nature of the relationship with the deceased; and
  • whether there is any conduct on behalf of any challenger that ‘disentitles the challenger’.  

This is not intended to be a complete list but a general outline as to the factors that a Court will take into account.

Time limitations

If you intend on challenging a Will there are strict time limits which must be complied with. A failure to comply with the time requirements may result in the ability to challenge being lost forever. Please contact us to discuss the relevant time limits.

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Angela
Tondelstrand

Senior Associate