Contested Probate Solicitors - Will Disputes - New Zealand Lawyers

Legal Helpline: ☎ 021 232 2070

Due to increasing levels of prosperity challenging wills and contesting probate has become a specialist legal subject over the last decades with New Zealand solicitors dealing with contested wills and disputed probate on a regular basis. Most people will leave property at the time of their death however not everyone will be able to determine exactly who receives those assets. This may be due to a number of factors not least of which is that many people fail to make a will which means that assets are distributed after death according to statutory provisions which may mean that unintended beneficiaries receive a substantial legacy that they were not expecting. The next most common cause of estates being distributed in a way that is not consistent with the intentions of the person making the will relates to wills that are poorly drafted or badly executed that may be invalid in whole or in part. Thereafter inadequate drafting may ensure that some assets are not distributed and finally some testators fail to appreciate that their estate may have responsibilities to dependents for whom they may have made inadequate provision. Our contested probate solicitors are able to advise on challenging wills and disputed probate applications in a court of law

Legal Helpline: ☎ 021 232 2070

The Wills Act 2007

The Wills Act 2007 has now replaced The Wills Act 1837 which was considered to be outdated and inaccessible to the public due to archaic language and because it had to be read in conjunction with several other Acts. This new NZ legislation has reduced the possibility of undermining the intentions of the person making the will due to it being poorly grafted or badly executed. Probably the most important and innovative provision of The Wills Act 2007 is to enable the High Court to validate wills that fall foul of some of the formalities that would otherwise make the will invalid thereby reducing the number of writs issued by contested probate solicitors.

Legal Helpline: ☎ 021 232 2070

Challenged Wills & Contested Probate

There are numerous grounds upon which an aggrieved potential beneficiary can contest a will or dispute probate. In most cases if a will is found to be invalid then an earlier valid will may take precedence. Beneficiaries of earlier wills may there find it is in their interest to contest a later will or dispute probate if the later document cuts them out. A challenge to a will or an application to contest probate can be mounted by a contested probate solicitor in any of the following circumstances :-

  • Dependents

      Under the Family Protection Act 1955 an application can be made to the high court to contest a will on the basis that it did not make adequate provision for dependents that are categorised under the legislation as spouses, civil partners and in certain circumstances de facto partners.

  • Promises

      It is possible to bring a claim under the Law Reform (Testamentary Promises) Act 1949 if you have provided a service to a deceased in return for a promise to be a beneficiary under that person’s will that has not been fulfilled. The promise must have been made prior to the work having been carried out.

  • Spouses

      The legal spouse or civil partner or de facto partner of a deceased person may chose to either divide property acquired jointly during the course of the relationship or accept what has been left to them as beneficiary under a will.

  • Validity

      There are a number of ways whereby a will can be challenged in NZ relating to either or both the person making the will and the document :-

      • The will maker was not of sound mind and did not fully understand the consequences of their actions.
      • the will was not properly executed by way of signature or witness requirements.
      • There was an element of duress or undue influence when the will was executed.
      • The person making the will was mistaken about the type of document that was signed and would not have approved of the content.

Legal Helpline: ☎ 021 232 2070

Solicitors Advice

Our lawyers advise clients regarding matters of probate. We frequently handle disputed probate and other contested cases in which a document’s validity has been questioned or a claim has been made on behalf of someone who was excluded as a beneficiary. If you require advice regarding an issue with any matters involving wills or probate, fill in a contact form or call our helpline. One of our solicitors will give you any initial advice or discuss your requirements free of charge and there is no additional obligation.


Legal Helpline: ☎ 021 232 2070

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