Successfully Contesting A Will

There can be many reasons why someone would want to contest a Will.  Below is an outline of recent matter where we successfully contested a Will on behalf of our client made by his late mother. The deceased died on 17 November 2008 leaving a Will dated 26 April 2001 appointing one of her sons, ("Keith"), and her daughter-in-law ("Margaret") as her Executors and beneficiaries. Keith died in 2005 and Margaret died in 2011. There was evidence that the 2001 Will was not a valid Will as the deceased lacked the testamentary capacity at the time of its creation. There also existed a 1997 Will appointing the NSW Trustee & Guardian as Executor and naming the client, the surviving son of the deceased, and Keith as her main beneficiaries. When we were approached by our client no one had filed for Probate, despite more than 4 years having passed since the death of the deceased and there being an Estate worth approximately $300,000.00. Before her death, Keith and Margaret had been living with the deceased for many years until she was admitted to a nursing home September 2001 due to dementia. Before her admission, however, our client stated that he first noticed problems with his mother's state of mind in 1999, and provided a copy of a medical report which indicated that he diagnosed the deceased with mild to moderate dementia three months after 2001 Will was made. There was also evidence that Keith and Margaret were con artists, and had previously taken advantage of the deceased. Our client stated that his mother had expressed to him her dislike of Margaret and that he found it difficult to believe that she would have specifically named Margaret in her Will as an Executrix or beneficiary. In 1997 the deceased asked our client to take her to the Public Trustee to make a Will. Our client said she told him that she intended to leave her estate to himself and Keith equally. This conversation also led the client to believe that the 2001 Will did not contain the deceased's intentions. Because the Trustee & Guardian had failed to take any action on the 1997 Will despite multiple requests and queries by our client, we applied for our client to be appointed as the Administrator of his late mother's Estate under the 1997 Will, which we asserted was the last valid Will made by the deceased and provided relevant evidence. We put the Trustee & Guardian on notice of this, as well as the potential beneficiaries of the 2001 Will in case they wanted to provide evidence to the contrary in support of the 2001 Will. The Supreme Court made orders appointing our client as Administrator of his late mother's 1997 Will and sent the matter back to the Registrar for Letters of Administration to be granted in solemn form.

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