My husband was diagnosed with depression and committed suicide. We were separated and at the time had a mirrored Will. His family are now contesting his will as all the assets went to me. Do they have a case or will I be ok?
Your husband’s family has two grounds to contest your husband’s Will.
Family Provision Claim under the Succession Act
The first ground is by way of an application for a family provision order under the Succession Act. The Court will make a family provision order if it is shown that the deceased did not make adequate provision for the maintenance, education or advancement in life.
To be able to make a family provision application your husband’s family would need to show that they are eligible persons which they may be if, at any time, they were wholly or partially dependent on your husband and a member of your husband’s household. They might also be eligible to make a claim if they can show that they were living in a close personal relationship with your husband. This is a relationship between two adults, whether related or not, living together where one or the other provides the other with domestic support and personal care.
Contesting the Will for Undue Influence
It is more likely that your husband’s family will contest his Will on the grounds that you exerted undue influence over him in the making of his Will. They would base their claim on the fact that your husband was a vulnerable person as he was suffering from depression and susceptible to outside influence.
The main factor in your favour is that you and your husband had mirrored Wills where you had both agreed to leave your assets to the other.
The Court will consider all the evidence surrounding the making of your husband’s Will to determine whether there was any undue influence surrounding the making of his Will.,
To ensure that your entitlement to your husband’s Estate is secure you need to seek expert legal advice from a Wills and Estates Lawyer. At Northern Beaches Lawyers we will provide you with advice on the claim being made by your husband’s family as well as gathering evidence to refute the claim that he was unduly influenced. This includes evidence of the circumstances surrounding the making of your husband’s Will, statements made by your husband, his medical state at the time he executed the Will as well as statements from witnesses to the Will.
For further information on Wills, Estates and Probate Law or a consultation to discuss your concerns:-
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