Palmerston North
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Wills Disputes

We have expertise advising beneficiaries who may be disappointed with the nature or amount of an inheritance after a family member has died. We also assist executors who need to respond to a claim.

The Family Protection Act 1955 provides that a Will maker (Testator) has a moral duty to his or her close family members in the Will. If there is inadequate provision, a family member may have a right to contest the Will.

Complications can also arise under the Property (Relationships) Act 1976, where the surviving partner has six months to either accept the provisions of the Will or claim a different share under the Act.

A relatively little known law also can provide relief to a person who had provided care or other on the understanding or expectation that they would be rewarded in the Will. This is the Law Reform (Testamentary) Promises Act 1949. Again we can assist both claimants and executors if this legislation is relied on.

More recently the Wills Act 2007 has provided for possible relief from the strict signing regime which applied up till then and under which improperly signed or witnessed informal Wills were often rendered invalid. The Wills Act 2007 can provide assistance where either those formalities haven’t been strictly adhered to, or a deceased person’s intentions are clearly made out without a Will.

Our experts in Wills Disputes are