In WA, the Family Provision Act 1972 governs who can make an application for provision out of the estate of any deceased person. This is commonly referred to “contesting a Will or distribution from an estate”. Generally speaking, the persons who can apply are:
I. a person who was married to, or living as the de facto partner of, the deceased person immediately before the death of the deceased person;
II. a person who at the date of the death of the deceased was receiving or entitled to receive maintenance from the deceased as a former spouse or former de facto partner of the deceased whether pursuant to an order of any court, or to an agreement or otherwise;
III. a child of the deceased living at the date of the death of the deceased, or born within 10 months after the deceased’s death;
IV. a grandchild of the deceased —who was being maintained wholly or partly by the deceased immediately before the deceased’s death; or who, at the date of the deceased’s death, was living and one of whose parents was a child of the deceased who had predeceased the deceased; or who was born within 10 months after the deceased’s death and one of whose parents was a child of the deceased who had predeceased the deceased;
V. a stepchild of the deceased who was being maintained wholly or partly or was entitled to be maintained wholly or partly by the deceased immediately before the deceased’s death.
The issue of stepchildren being a person who can apply was part of the major overhaul of the legislation which came into effect in January 2013.
Inheritance disputes are a growing area of law and many disputes are settled by way of court ordered mediation.
I have extensive experience in this area of law and can advise you as to whether, if considering making an application for better provision from a loved one’s estate, will or will not be successful.