Testamentary Promises

Sometimes a promise to provide for someone in a will can be enforced by the court after that person's death. If the deceased promised to leave you something in their will in return for work or services that you carried out for them while they were alive, then you may be able to bring a claim against the deceased's estate under the Law Reform (Testamentary Promises) Act 1949.

In considering a claim under the Act, the Court will consider:

  • the circumstances in which the promise was made and the services rendered or the work that was performed
  • the value of the work or services carried out
  • the value of the testamentary provision promised
  • the amount of the deceased's estate
  • whether there are any other claims against the estate by other people and, if so, the nature and amount of those claims.

There can be difficulties proving that a promise was made. The promise could have been either in writing or made to you orally and the Court will consider all the circumstances of the case.

If you think you have a claim against an estate, you need to act promptly. There is a time limit for claims to be brought under the TPA. The claim must have been filed with the Court within 12 months of the grant of probate (Court approval of the will). There are provisions for the Court to extend this timeframe but only if the estate has not been distributed. However the earlier a claim is filed, the better.

Brookfields can advise you of your chances of success in any claim. We can help with negotiation of a settlement and if needs be, take your case to Court.

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