Challenging a Will When the Beneficiaries Have Been Changed

Challenging a Will When the Beneficiaries Have Been Changed

Through persistence and dedication, Etheringtons Solicitors successfully challenged a Will and recovered a significant sum for the rightful beneficiary, a Children’s Charity.

A married couple with no children or relatives executed mirror Wills and left everything to a good cause – a charity for children. When the wife passed away, unbeknownst to the charity, the husband suddenly changed his Will to leave everything to various people who he claimed had helped him after his wife passed away, including a man who claimed to be his brother. After changing his Will, the husband became unreachable and moved in with his alleged brother.

On behalf of the charity, Etheringtons Solicitors regularly checked the court website for probate notices and after twelve months of persistent checking, there was a probate notice for the husband. Etheringtons contacted the solicitor who drafted the new Will. Much to the charity’s surprise, Etheringtons was advised that the charity was no longer a beneficiary and that the funds from the estate had already been distributed to the late husband’s newly added beneficiaries.

Our principal knew something wasn’t right and decided to look into the matter further. Consequently, Etheringtons uncovered that at the time the new Will was executed, it was evident the husband showed signs of dementia and therefore lacked the capacity to execute a new Will.

Etheringtons, on behalf of the charity, commenced proceedings seeking to revoke the grant of probate. Various medical documents of the late husband showed that he suffered from serious cognitive impairment and after his wife had passed away, his symptoms had deteriorated further. Not long after the proceedings were commenced, Etheringtons conducted a settlement conference with the charity, the executor and the new beneficiaries and as a result, successfully convinced the new beneficiaries to return close to one million dollars to the rightful beneficiary, the children’s charity.

If it wasn’t for Etheringtons’ perseverance, victory would not have been achieved for the charity and, more importantly, for the vulnerable children the charity helps.

If you would like to know more, please call us on (02) 9963 9800 or email [email protected].