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It is usually the last thing on people’s minds when they have lost a family member, particularly where the death is sudden or unexpected but everyone needs to bear in mind that there are strict time limits that apply to bringing claims against an estate if you have been left out of a Will or have not been adequately provided for.

In Queensland you have six months from the date of death to provide notice of intention to bring a claim against the estate.  You must file any relevant court proceedings after giving this notice within nine months of the date of death.

In New South Wales you have twelve months from the date of death to file a claim but please bear in mind that an executor can advertise their intention to distribute the estate after six months from the date of death has expired.  Accordingly, it is very important that anyone thinking of contesting a Will or finding out about their rights in relation to an estate get proper legal advice from lawyers who specialise in this area as soon as possible after the death of their family member.

There are various grounds to bring a claim outside these time limits with the leave of the Court, but generally speaking, it is usually only in exceptional circumstances that a claim can be brought out of time.

Many people think that going to see a lawyer will cost them thousands of dollars.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Most lawyers who specialise in this area of work offer a “no win no fee” arrangement with a free initial consultation.

The same can also apply to executors or administrators of estates where a claim is being made against them.  Executors should seek proper legal advice as soon as possible so that these claims can be dealt with quickly and cost effectively.  Sometimes disputes that are left to fester can incur a large amount of unwanted legal costs.  Early intervention and proper advice from lawyers who specialise in this area can keep these costs to a minimum and resolve any disputes in a timely manner.

Want to know more?  Listen to our interview with Legal Practice Director, Jeff Garrett

If you have any queries either as a claimant or as a personal representative or executor of an estate, please take advantage of our free initial consultation.  Please ring our department manager Donna Tolley on direct line 07 5506 8241, email or freecall 1800 621 071.

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Melissa Tucker

Melissa Tucker

  • Senior Associate
  • Wills and Estates
  • Direct line: (07) 5553 5803
  • Mobile: 0411 046 805