Succession Act Claims (Challenges To Wills)


Assuming that a person is of sound mind, i.e. has testamentary capacity, the said person may give away his or her property in any way he or she desires. It is irrelevant if a third party does not agree with this distribution of assets.

However, if a person deemed to meet certain criteria of dependency, has been excluded from a will or not left sufficient support, they may challenge a will and make a claim upon the estate.

The Succession Act 2006, (replacing the Family Provision Act) took effect from 1 March 2009 and applies only to the estates of people dying on or after that date. A person who qualifies under the law may contest a will or claim on an estate, for example, if that person was left without proper provision being made for them. This is irrespective of whether they are included in the original will or not.

A will can be challenged if there are good reasons based upon a number of matters but not limited to:

  • Whether or not the will is grossly unfair
  • Whether or not there are financial needs of family members
  • Whether there are dependants who were partially or fully dependant on the deceased
  • The mental capacity of the deceased

Challenging a will under the Succession Act is often a lengthy, emotional and detailed process. With over 34 years experience in dealings with the Succession Act and its prdecessor, the Family Provision Act, Cluff & Associates can advise you on the grounds to bring a claim against an estate or to defend a claim being made upon an estate to which you are executrix.

Should you wish for more information on whether you would be eligible to challenge a will or make a claim on an estate under the Succession Act, please contact Gary Cluff today.


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