THE NSW Supreme Court has recently introduced new rules to simplify deceased estates disputes, with the expectation of these measures to cut costs and finalise Will challenges more rapidly.
Some of the changes include online eCourt determination of progress orders, compulsory mediation, and a standard affidavit for applications brought under the Family Provision Act and the Succession Act.
The NSW Supreme Court has streamlined the entire process to make it easier for people who may be grieving while embroiled in bitter family disputes to resolve their differences. The Court is aiming to apply a clear, transparent and common sense approach so all parties know exactly what the court requires to quickly and fairly deal with these matters.
The Court estimates the new procedures, which took effect from 1 June 2009, will apply to nearly 30% of the 2000-plus equity cases filed each year.
Parties will be directed to the online eCourt system for certain orders made during the conduct of the matter.
Compulsory mediation will lead to a significant increase in cases settling before hearing, further reducing cost.
Costs capping will likely occur in cases dealt with by the Court and costs will be awarded against parties who include irrelevant material in affidavits.
Under the new system, unless the legal representatives of parties stay abreast of the current and ongoing changes to contested wills laws, including electronic communication with the Court, clients of those practitioners who do not abide by the changes will suffer significant legal costs consequences for their lawyers’ inattention.
The above is only a short overview of the recent changes. Should you wish for more specific information please contact our Contested Wills & Estates team.
We recommend you not act on any matter without first obtaining professional advice.