There are few areas of dispute which are as costly and as destructive of relationships as disputes concerning Wills and estates. It is common for families to be torn apart and relationships irreversibly destroyed as a result of the acrimony and unpleasantness associated with litigated proceedings concerning a Will or the division of an estate. The consequence may be that family members are cut off and never speak to each other again.

The Succession Act, 2006 as amended by the Succession Amendment (Family Provisions) Act 2008 sets out who is entitled to make an application to change the way in which a deceased person has left their estate by their Will.

It is understandable that a person with a close connection to the deceased person feels a sense of disappointment and rejection to learn that no (or insufficient) provision has been a made for them in the Will of their deceased parent (or other close relative) or that they have not been appropriately or fairly recognised in that Will.

It is important for anyone considering making a claim under the Succession Act to recognise that disputes in relation to Wills and estates are conducted in the Supreme Court where legal costs are high. Further, the parties involved in the dispute will not only engage a solicitor to act on their behalf but are likely to need to engage a barrister as well. These factors mean that disputes in relation to Wills and estates are generally extremely expensive.

Not only are disputes concerning Wills and estates extremely expensive, but they are also extremely time consuming, often continuing for years. Very many hours will be spent with your solicitor sifting through the family history, preparing chronologies, affidavits and other documents, going through interviews with the barrister to identify the aspects of the history of the relationship with the deceased person that are relevant and which are not.

It is also worth bearing in mind that legal fees in relation to these types of disputes are usually paid on what is called a “common fund” basis. This means that the lawyers’ fees will be paid out of the estate which will dramatically reduce the pool of funds available to be divided amongst the beneficiaries. In fact, it is not uncommon for there to be very little left to be divided amongst the beneficiaries after the payment of legal fees.

Fortunately, there are alternatives to litigation.

The lawyers at Lopich Lawyers are highly skilled dispute resolution practitioners. They are trained collaborative lawyers as well as being Nationally Accredited Mediators.

We are so confident that the alternatives to litigation provide a better outcome for all parties to a dispute that the lawyers at Lopich Lawyers do not engage in litigation.

So what are the advantages of non-adversarial dispute resolution (i.e. the collaborative process or mediation):-

  • family relationships can be preserved and may even be restored;
  • the process is generally a very much quicker (i.e. months rather than years);
  • because the process is able to be completed in very much less time than proceedings before a court, they are significantly less expensive;
  • the parties themselves “design” the outcome (i.e. no court imposed outcomes);
  • the parties engage in interest based good faith negotiations;
  • the parties are able to tell their “stories”(i.e. not restrained by the rule of evidence or admissibility.

Call 1300 760 225 now to speak to one of our mediators or collaborative lawyers.

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