Some questions you may have about a will

I have been named as an executor under a will – what do I have to do?

The role of executor can be very challenging – from the time of the deceased’s death, the executor is responsible for making funeral arrangements, contacting the deceased’s family and friends to let them know of the death, obtaining a death certificate, finding the deceased’s will, locating all of the deceased’s assets (such as bank accounts), applying for a grant of probate (or letters of administration, if the deceased died without leaving a will), ascertaining what debts the deceased owed and paying them and contacting any beneficiaries under the will.

An executor may also have to arrange for the payment of any tax liabilities, which can include tax payable by the deceased personally and also tax payable by the deceased’s estate.

Acting as executor for even a comparatively simple estate can be very daunting!  Fleming & Rhoden Lawyers can help you through the process.

What can I do if I am unhappy about the deceased’s will?

Can I challenge a will?

You may be able to challenge a will if:

  • The deceased had a duty to provide for you, but failed to do so adequately.
  • The will in question is not the deceased’s last will.
  • The deceased did not have sufficient mental capacity to make a will at the time of signing it.
  • The deceased was wrongly influenced by someone to make the will.

When can I challenge the will?

In Victoria, you have 6 months from the date that the Supreme Court of Victoria makes a grant of probate of a will or of letters of administration (where there is no will) to file documents in court challenging the will.

Do I have a claim?

In Victoria, you can challenge a will if you are the deceased’s spouse or de facto partner, the deceased’s child or step-child, the deceased’s grandchild or a member of the deceased’s household at the time of the deceased’s death.

Will I have to go to court if I challenge a will?

Challenges to wills are often settled by negotiation without the need to go to court.  However, it is often necessary to start proceedings in a court to safeguard your interest and to bring pressure on other involved parties to negotiate with you – but most challenges to wills are resolved without progressing to a trial.

Contact us for a free half-hour consultation to explore your options.