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Can an ex Wife or Husband Contest a Will?

Can an ex Wife or Husband Contest a Will?

Technically in Queensland the answer is yes, an ex-wife or ex-husband can contest a will. But it is a difficult case to win as you need to prove you were still financially dependent on your ex-partner.

Here are two examples of where an ex-partner has been successful in contesting a will of an ex-deceased spouse.

This case from 2019, which can be read here gives an example of where a divorced spouse made a successful claim against a deceased ex-partner’s estate. In summary:

  • the applicant and deceased were married, divorced in early-2000s but remained friendly with and financially linked to one another, and there was talk of a possible remarriage (paras 39-47);
  • Because of the closeness of the relationship, the applicant sought to claim on the basis she was in a de facto relationship with the deceased; this was rejected (para 104):
  • Instead the claim succeeded on the basis she was a former spouse and financially dependant on the deceased (paras 57-66) and she was given ½ of the estate (para 146).

The mains points are that:

  • Generally, an ex-wife or husband has no prospects to successfully contest a will.
  • However, ongoing financial support of an ex-spouse may in very limited circumstances make the ex-spouse eligible to contest the will.
  • Each case turns on its own facts, and requires an assessment of the specific facts and circumstances.