What Is A Will Dispute And How Can It Be Solved

July 14, 2023    Wills Lawyers Perth
What Is A Will Dispute And How Can It Be Solved

When someone passes away, they often leave behind a document called a will. This will explain how their assets should be divided and their final wishes fulfilled. However, there are times when disagreements arise over the contents or execution of a will. These conflicts are called will disputes or will contests.

They can create emotional strain and legal complications among the beneficiaries and other interested parties. Find the Wills Lawyers In Perth WA to surf through these problems with their expertise and experience.

What is a Will Dispute?

A will dispute occurs when one or more individuals question the validity, interpretation, or execution of a will. People challenge wills for various reasons. They might have doubts about the mental capacity of the person who made the will, suspecting that someone might have forced them, or question the proper execution of the document. Some may even claim that the will is fake or invalid.

Common Reasons for Will Disputes

When dealing with will disputes, there can be a variety of reasons. Knowing the common reasons will help you understand them better.

1. Lack of Mental Capacity:

People might challenge a will by doubting the mental capacity of the person who made it. They might claim that the person was not mentally sound to understand the consequences when creating the will. This document will be considered invalid if it is proven that the person did have a low mental capacity to make the will.

2. Undue Influence:

Undue influence is when an individual pressures or manipulates the person to change the will and its contents in their favour. Proving undue influence can be complicated, as it requires showing that the person’s free will was compromised.

3. Lack of Proper Execution:

A will should meet certain legal requirements to be considered valid. It can be challenged if a will is not signed or witnessed correctly. Disputes related to the technical aspects of will execution often happen when the document fails to meet the legal formalities required by the court.

Resolving Will Disputes

Will disputes might sound complex and intimidating, but they also can be solved through these approaches:

1. Mediation:

In some cases, disputing parties may choose to engage in mediation. This involves bringing in an unbiased third party to help facilitate discussions and find a mutually agreeable solution. Mediation can be a lesser risk and costly alternative to going to court, allowing the parties to control the outcome.

2. Litigation:

In more complicated cases, disputes may go to the point where legal action becomes necessary. Litigation involves presenting the dispute before a court, which examines the evidence and decides. Going to court can be lengthy and expensive, but it may be the only viable option for resolving certain will disputes.

3. Settlement:

Parties disputing a will may also settle the matter outside court through negotiation and compromise. The settlement allows for a more flexible resolution tailored to the specific circumstances of the case. It can help preserve family relationships and minimise lengthy legal proceedings’ financial and emotional toll.

Exploring the Different Types of Will Disputes

When conflicts arise about the contents or execution of a will, they are referred to as will disputes. These disputes can occur for various reasons, and understanding the different types can provide a clear and straightforward explanation.

1. Challenges to Validity

Challenges to the document’s validity may arise due to concerns about the mental capacity of the person making the will, known as the testator. The document may be deemed invalid when the testator was proven not to have a sound mind or lacked the necessary mental capacity when creating the will. Additionally, allegations of fraud or undue influence can challenge the will’s validity.

2. Disagreements in Interpretation

Interpretation of the will’s provisions occurs when beneficiaries or interested parties interpret the language used in the will differently. Disagreements may arise due to unclear or ambiguous terms, leading to confusion regarding the intended meaning. In such cases, it becomes necessary to determine the testator’s true intentions and resolve the dispute accordingly.

3. Issues with Executors or Trustees

Sometimes, disputes stem from disagreements or concerns regarding the appointed executor or trustee. The executor manages the distribution of assets according to the will, while the trustee deals with the administration of any trusts established by the will.

Disputes may arise if beneficiaries or interested parties feel the executor or trustee must properly fulfil their duties, mismanaging assets or acting against the testator’s wishes.

4. Claims of Family Provision

Laws exist to protect family members who believe they have not been adequately provided for in a will. These laws allow eligible individuals to claim family provision or dependent relief. Such claims typically occur when a spouse, child, or other dependents feel they have not received a fair share of the deceased’s estate. Resolving family provision disputes involves determining the appropriate provision that should be made for the claimant based on their circumstances.

Navigating a Will Dispute: Finding the Right Lawyer

When facing a will dispute, finding the right lawyer specialising in estate law is crucial. A skilled lawyer can provide guidance and protect your interests. Let us explore the steps to find the right lawyer for your will dispute, ensuring you have the necessary expertise.

1. Assessing Your Needs

To find a lawyer for a will dispute, assess your needs. Determine the nature of the dispute, whether it involves will validity, interpretation, executor/trustee concerns, or family provision claims.

2. Seeking Referrals and Recommendations

Ask for referrals from friends, close relatives, or acquaintances who dealt with similar issues or worked with wills and estates lawyers Perth. Their insights and recommendations can help find lawyers experienced in handling will disputes.

3. Researching Potential Lawyers

Research potential lawyers and law firms. Look for expertise in estate law, will disputes, or probate litigation. Visit websites, read client reviews, and examine professional profiles. Look for success indicators like notable case results or positive testimonials.

4. Consultations and Interviews

Schedule consultations or interviews with shortlisted lawyers. Many offer initial consultations at a reduced fee. Discuss your case, ask questions, and gauge their understanding and expertise in will disputes. Consider their communication style and responsiveness.

5. Consider Experience and Track Record

Consider lawyers’ experience and track record in will disputes. Inquire about previous cases and outcomes particularly similar to yours. A lawyer with a successful track record has the knowledge and strategies for effective navigation.

6. Communication and Fee Structure

Effective communication is crucial. Discuss communication expectations with potential lawyers. Inquire about the fee structure and billing methods. Clarify the fee structure upfront to avoid surprises later.


Will disputes can be emotionally challenging and legally complex. It is important to ask for guidance from experienced legal professionals specialising in estate law to navigate these conflicts effectively. By understanding the common reasons for will disputes and the available resolution methods, individuals can better protect their interests and strive for a fair and just outcome in the face of a will dispute.

Finding the right lawyer for a will dispute requires careful consideration. Assess your needs, seek referrals, and research potential will dispute lawyers. Schedule consultations to evaluate understanding, track record, and communication style.

By taking these steps, you can find a lawyer to advocate for your interests and effectively navigate your will dispute.

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