In Queensland, there are three main categories of people who can contest a Will. The spouse, the child and the dependant.
Families come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and with blended families being very common these days, the words “spouse, “child” and dependant” may have different meanings to different people.
When it comes to contesting a Will, the definition of “child” includes step and adopted children.
So the short answer is “yes”, a stepchild can contest a Will.
Some interesting quirks in the law regarding stepchildren include:
- If a spouse in a blended family dies, their biological child (the surviving spouse’s stepchild) will always remain a stepchild (and eligible to contest the Will of their stepparent);
- To be a stepchild (and eligible to contest a step parent’s Will), the biological parent and stepparent don’t have to be married. It applies if they are in a de facto relationship or civil partnership as well.
- Even if the stepparent remarries or enters into a de facto relationship or civil partnership after the death of their spouse, the stepchild remains eligible to contest.
Being “eligible” to contest a Will does not necessarily mean a person will be successful in contesting a Will. There are many factors to consider.
Whether you are in the estate planning stage and need advice on strategies dealing with Will challenges or if you think you need to speak with someone about challenging a Will or defending a challenge, we have a team of knowledgeable lawyers with significant experience in complex Estate Litigation matters who can provide you with easy to understand advice.