Adverse Possession Disputes

Wills and estate disputes

Estate disputes can arise when parties disagree about the administration of a deceased estate (property and assets of a deceased person).

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Estate disputes

Estate disputes can arise when parties disagree about the administration of a deceased estate (property and assets of a deceased person).

Conflicts in estate matters can occur at any stage of estate administration, and the court will consider the circumstances and evidence in each particular dispute. The court has discretion to vary the provisions of the will but there is no set formula for determining a beneficiary’s entitlement.

At Gibbs Wright, we have extensive estate litigation experience, and we can help you today.

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What our clients say

…turned our crazy situation into positive new beginnings… We would highly recommend their services to anyone who is in need of professional property lawyers who have your best interests at heart. Thank you Mitchell and Melany!

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During the first phone call with Spencer I knew immediately that I was in competent hands. Spencer and his troops moved into position akin to military action… I would strongly recommend contacting Gibbs Wright Litigation Lawyers…

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Estate Lawyers

Types of estate and wills disputes we can help with

The two most commonly contested matters in relation to wills are the validity of the will, and the adequacy of provisions to family members of the deceased.

Common issues include:

  • whether a will is the most recent version;
  • whether the will accurately reflects the deceased’s wishes;
  • the value of assets;
  • who should be engaged to value the assets;
  • reimbursements; and
  • conflicts of interest.

Contesting the validity of a will

To successfully challenge a will, it must be established that:

  • the testator lacked mental capacity at the time of making the will; or
  • the testator lacked knowledge and approval of the contents of the will; or
  • the will was subject to undue influence; or
  • the will was subject to fraud or forgery.

Challenging the provisions of a will

A person may consider the deceased did not make adequate provisions for them in the will.

In deciding such a claim, called a Family Provision Application, some of the factors that a court may consider are:

  • competing claims;
  • whether any provisions already received are adequate for the person’s proper maintenance, education and advancement in life;
  • the nature and duration of the person’s relationship with the deceased;
  • the person’s financial resources and earning capacity;
  • the size of the estate;
  • whether a promise was made to the person about the estate; and
  • there was a clear error in the will.
Types of Estate and Wills Disputes We Can Help With

Defending a contested will

If you are an executor of a will, it is your legal responsibility to defend a claim and uphold the interests of the testator.

If you are a beneficiary, you may also be an appropriate party to defend the provisions of the will in limited circumstances.

If you are an executor subject to a challenge, it is important to seek legal advice immediately to ensure you comply with your legal obligations at all times and do not risk being held personally liable for any deficiencies or discrepancies between the provisions of the will and the claim.

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Who we can help 

Under the Succession Act 1981 (Qld), the people entitled to dispute a will are:

  • the deceased’s spouse;
  • a child of the deceased; or
  • a dependant of the deceased.

“Spouse” includes marital or de facto spouse, or civil partner, or dependant former spouse or civil partner.

“Child” includes biological child, legally adopted child and stepchild.

“Dependant” means someone who received at least a substantial level of financial assistance from the deceased, typically someone who relied on the deceased for basic financial needs.

If you are a person entitled to challenge a will, we can help you argue your case. If the court finds in your favour, it may vary the provisions of the will or order the redistribution of the estate.

If you are an executor, our estate lawyers can help you ensure you comply with your legal responsibilities.

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Your team

Melany Dowse


Christine Steinmann

Mitchell Caldwell

Litigation solicitor

Mitchell Caldwell

Special CounSEL

Melany Dowse

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Why us

Why choose Gibbs Wright Litigation Lawyers

Gibbs Wright Litigation Lawyers has extensive experience in estate litigation and resolving estate disputes.

Whether you are intending to contest a will, or you are an executor wishing to defend a will, the estate lawyers at Gibbs Wright can provide advice, negotiate and appear in court on your behalf, to ensure your rights are sufficiently protected at all times.

We are here to help you anywhere in Australia from our base in Brisbane. Contact one of our experienced dispute lawyers today.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to engage a lawyer in an estate dispute?

Engaging a lawyer is not compulsory for an estate dispute but it is vital that you obtain proper legal advice to ensure you are protecting your rights, as well as maximising your chances of achieving the best possible outcome. Estate law is complex and can be difficult to navigate without the right professional legal advice.

Gibbs Wright lawyers can offer advice on all options to ensure an effective resolution for your estate and wills dispute.

Call us for no-obligation, confidential consultation.

What can a wills and estates lawyer do?

A wills and estates lawyer can offer advice or representation in the dispute.

They may, for example, be involved in helping to negotiate a resolution without the need for court proceedings.

If negotiation is not successful, the lawyer can help a party with court proceedings.

Will I need to go to court?

Court proceedings can be costly, time consuming and stressful, so lawyers at Gibbs Wright will always attempt to negotiate a resolution before recommending your matter be litigated in a court.

If your matter requires a court appearance, our team will be with you through the entire litigation process.

What is the Gibbs Wright process?

At Gibbs Wright, we work closely with you to determine the best plan for your particular circumstances, considering your finances and your expectations.

We will walk you through the steps of the journey, which begins with a free initial discussion to assess the strength of your case and your legal options.

As well as the will itself, we will request key documents such as invoices and  financial statements to assess your claim.

If we determine we can help you, we can provide an estimate of fees, depending on the expected cost and complexity of the matter.

Where can we help you?

We are well versed in will and estate disputes in Australia. We’re based in Brisbane, however, our services are available to people Australia-wide. So, if you’re looking for a will disputes lawyer, call us today to let us handle your matter.

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