If one of your siblings are contesting your parent’s will, you may be in the process of preparing for mediation in Sydney. The loss of a parent can be incredibly painful and challenging, especially when disagreements regarding their estate are involved.
It is important to try to remain calm during arbitration and to try to see things from all points of view.
It is also valuable to appreciate and understand what mediation in Sydney entails and under what circumstances a will is allowed to be contested.
When can a will be challenged?
A will is a legal document and isn’t something that can easily be overturned just because someone feels slighted. Your sibling might be threatening to contest the will but may not actually follow through with it – in part because it can be a lengthy and expensive process, and also because they may not be entitled to do so.
A will can be contested by a person who had a dependent relationship with the deceased and believes there is an issue with the will. There must be a legally valid reason to do this. Examples of valid reasons to contest and go to mediation in Sydney include:
- Undue influence
- Lack of proper execution
- Fraudulent or forged documents
- Lack of testamentary capacity; and
- Lack of knowledge.
Examples of why the document might be challenged under the claim of poor execution include the inclusion of a signature that is not the parent’s, or the lack of a proper witness signature. In the instance where this is found, the will might be declared invalid even with mediation in Sydney.
Lack of mental capacity
Mental capacity refers to the ability of the testator to understand what they were doing when creating the will; that is, they understood the extent of their assets and how their provision of them would affect their beneficiaries. If it can be proved that the testator lacked mental capacity at the time that they signed their will, it may be deemed an invalid document. An example of when this might be the case is if a parent had dementia when they signed it.
During mediation in Sydney, you might address the issue of fraud. If the testator was forced to sign the will or lied to about what the document was that they were signing, this could be an example of a fraudulent – and invalid – will. An example includes if they were under the care of somebody when they signed it, and they were told what to write, or they were told that it was a healthcare document when it wasn’t.
How to handle it
When going to mediation in Sydney with your siblings, you will want to prepare by having a lawyer on your side. They can advise you on the ideal steps to take in order to get the fairest outcome. During arbitration you will be given the chance to have a mature, balanced discussion regarding the situation and possible outcomes.
If you can’t agree
If mediation in Sydney doesn’t work for you, the matter may need to be taken to court. In this case, the court will decide what action to take. They might discard the entire will, or decide to make a small amendment. They will take all factors into consideration, not just the wishes of your sibling.
You may find that over time, the disagreements you are having with your siblings will fade out. Often the experience of losing a parent can create challenging feelings that need time to ease.