In Australia it has long been established that individuals have the power to leave their possessions to whomever they want under a Will, this is what is known as "Testamentary Freedom".

However you may not be aware that, Courts have the power to override this freedom if adequate provision has not been made under a Will to an "eligible person". This means if you are an "eligible person" and you have not been adequately provided for under a Will, then you may be entitled to make what is known as a "Family Provision Claim".

The definition of an "eligible person" under the Act is broad and Family Provision Claims may be made by the deceased's immediate family, long forgotten sons and daughters (including step-sons and daughters), ex-lovers, widows, widowers, same sex partners, adult children and other people.

Family Provision Claims are decided on a case-by-case basis and Courts look to any available evidence to assist in their decision making. If the Court decides adequate provision hasn't been made then they have the power to override the Will and make provision from the assets of the deceased person.

Harris Freidman has acted for many clients who have brought successful Family Provision Claims with the size of the estates ranging from the very small to those worth many millions of dollars. We have also acted for executors wishing to defend estates against Family Provisions Claims by eligible persons.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.