At Nicholas James Lawyers, we understand everyone is free to make their Will as they see fit. This is also known as testamentary freedom, a long-standing legal concept that guides the preparation and interpretation of Wills. However, Will makers in Victoria, are required to make adequate provisions for those for whom they are responsible. If a Will does not provide adequate provision for that individual, they have the right to request the Supreme Court of Victoria to make greater provision. These claims are often referred to as ‘Part IV Claims’.
Under the Administration and Probate Act 1958 Victoria a Part IV Application is a claim for family provision against a deceased estate. An application under this Act is filed when a deceased person’s Will fails to include appropriate provisions for the proper care and support of a person for whom the deceased had responsibility. A Part IV claim does not challenge the validity of a Will; however, it is an application claiming that appropriate provision has not been made for the proper maintenance of an eligible individual.
Our experienced team of Wills & Estate Lawyers can guide you through the complexities of your Part IV Claim and give you the understanding you need to make the right decisions for you and your loved ones.
Eligibility will depend on each individual circumstance, but the following people may be eligible to make a Part IV claim:
- The spouse or domestic partner of the deceased.
- A child of the deceased (including by adoption and stepchildren).
- a person who, for a significant length of time during the deceased’s life, believed the deceased was his or her parent and was treated as such by the deceased.
- A former spouse or domestic partner of the deceased (who has not finalised Family Law proceedings).
- A registered caring partner of the deceased.
- A grandchild of the deceased.
- A spouse or domestic partner of the deceased’s child, where that child passes away within a year of the deceased’s death; and
- A person who was a member of the deceased’s household.
In most cases, a Part IV claim must be made within 6 months of the date of the Grant of Probate. However, extensions may be available under limited circumstances. Our team of expert Wills & Estate Lawyers can assess your situation, guide you through the process and ensure you have the information to make the necessary decisions.
Obtaining information about the estate and notifying the Executor that you are considering filing a Part IV Claim is generally the first step. If all parties agree, disputes can often be settled without the involvement of the Supreme Court through early negotiations undertaken by legal counsel.
Due to the complexities in Part IV claims, it is important to seek expert advice. Our Wills & Estate Lawyers can assist and are able to provide a dedicated approach to your case to ascertain the key issues and determine the best way forward.