Challenging a will
You can challenge a will on the basis that it is not legally valid – for example, it wasn’t made and witnessed correctly (see: “Making a will”). If so, the court can declare it invalid, and an earlier will might be reinstated. If there aren’t any previous valid wills, the laws of intestacy will apply.
Even if a will is legally valid, it is still subject to three Acts. If a challenge is successful under one of these Acts, the court will amend the will as needed, but the rest of the will remains valid. These Acts also apply if there is no will.
- Family protection – If you are a family member of the deceased, you can apply to the courts under the Family Protection Act 1955 on the grounds that you were not provided for adequately in the will or by the laws of intestacy (see: “Who can make a claim under the Family Protection Act?”).
- Testamentary promises – If you provided work or services to the deceased, and in return they promised to provide for you in their will, but they broke that promise, you can apply to the courts under the Law Reform (Testamentary Promises) Act 1949 (see: “If the deceased promised to give you something”).
- Relationship property – If you are the spouse or partner of the deceased, you can apply to the courts under the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 to receive half of the relationship property if you would prefer that instead of what you were left in the will or by the laws of intestacy (see: “Relationship property laws”).