Shine Lawyers Main Logo

Contesting a will

Wills and estates

Dealing with the loss of a loved one is a deeply painful experience. Discovering that the assets of an estate will not be distributed as you may have thought, or the deceased person’s wishes have not been carried out, can make this difficult time even more traumatic. 

It is important to understand there are laws in place to ensure that a deceased person’s assets are appropriately distributed and that family members and other categories of people are adequately provided for. 

These laws can be complex to navigate, however at Shine Lawyers our Wills and Estates experts can assist you to understand your rights and the process to ensure you receive what you’re entitled to. 

Can I contest a Will?

Laws around who is eligible to contest a Will and the time limits that apply vary between states. The following is general information only, so it’s important to seek advice on your specific situation.

Reasons to contest a Will you can challenge a legal Will for a variety of reasons including:

  • You believe the Will doesn’t make adequate provision for you. This is known as a testator’s family maintenance or family provision claim. You must be an eligible person to contest a Will such as a spouse (including de facto), child or in some states step-child, a financial dependent, etc 

  • You can show that the deceased was not of sound mind when they made the Will. In this instance, the challenge would be based on the deceased’s decision-making capacity being impaired through age, illness or some other factor 

  • You believe the deceased was pressured or threatened to sign the Will, often called duress. It can be the case that the elderly can be targeted in this manner and compelled to create or alter a Will in a way that disadvantages you 

  • You were made a promise by the deceased that if you did something for them, they would provide for you in their Will. While you upheld your end of the promise, they did not, and as a result, you were not adequately provided for in the Will. This scenario is known as promissory estoppel, and in instances such as this a court may impose a constructive trust and order an asset be held on trust for a beneficiary 

Strict time limits apply

It is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible as strict time limits apply to making a claim to dispute a Will.  

How Shine can help 

We have helped thousands of Australians right wrong and access more than $1 billion per year in entitlements and compensation through our expert services.  

95% of the cases we represent are settled without the stress of going to court.

With our 1000+ workforce and business maturity, we have the scale, expertise and agility to take on the tough cases and win. 

We are ready to take action and ensure you receive your entitlement to right wrong.


Can I represent myself, or do I need a Will lawyer?

It is possible to legally represent yourself and prepare a will on your own accord, however, doing so successfully will likely require a thorough understanding of the law, your legal rights and entitlements.

Most people choose not to act for themselves and instead engage a wills and estate lawyer who is an expert in their field and can provide the knowledge and experience required to help guide you every step of the way. 

Why trust Shine to be my Wills and Estate lawyers?

At Shine Lawyers, we put your first. We’ve been standing up for the rights of everyday Australians for over 45 years. As one of Australia’s largest litigation law firms, we are here to help you get the justice you deserve. 

Our empathy, understanding and expertise are how we stay ahead of the pack. We’ll stand with you and guide you through every step of the way. 

Where are the Wills and Estate lawyers from Shine located?

Access to justice is important to us, and when it comes to Shine, location is no barrier.

Click here to see all our wills and estate law locations.  

Back to top


Shine Lawyers acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the Country throughout Australia and their connections to land, waterways and community. We pay our respects to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past, present and emerging.

Shine Lawyers Pty Ltd | ABN 86 134 702 757

Copyright 2023 Shine Lawyers. All Rights Reserved