Changes to claims on deceased estates

Cer­tain peo­ple such as a hus­band, wife, part­ner, chil­dren, grand­chil­dren and oth­ers are enti­tled to make a claim on an Estate of a deceased per­son if that per­son left the claimant with inad­e­quate pro­vi­sion in their Will or on intes­ta­cy (with­out a Will).

By the Suc­ces­sion Amend­ment (Fam­i­ly Pro­vi­sion) Act 2008, the leg­is­la­tion in this area changed on 1 March 2009.

The law is still sub­stan­tial­ly sim­i­lar, but the more impor­tant changes are as follows:

  1. Claimants now have to make a claim with­in 12 months of the deceased’s death (where­as pre­vi­ous­ly a claim could be made with­in 18 months).
  2. The Act sets out in some detail the fac­tors that the court should take into account when con­sid­er­ing a claim (where­as pre­vi­ous­ly this was not clear­ly set out in the legislation).
  3. The court can make an order regard­ing prop­er­ty in or out­side of New South Wales whether or not the deceased per­son lived in New South Wales at the date of death.
  4. There are spe­cial rules designed to save the Estate and claimant legal costs by dis­pens­ing with the rules of evi­dence where the Estate has a val­ue of less than $750,000.

The inten­tion behind these amend­ments is to has­ten the process of deal­ing with claims made by a claimant on an Estate. That means that, as unsavoury as this might be, claimants and Execu­tors have to start address­ing these issues with­in a few months of the deceased’s death.

For fur­ther infor­ma­tion contact: