Family provisions applications in the act: the time has halved

What is the limitation period?

The family provisions legislation has been amended in the ACT, effectively halving, unless the Court gives an extension the time limit to apply for further provision from an estate.

An application for a family provisions order now needs to be made within six months from the date when administration (Probate or Letters of Administration) of the estate of the deceased person is granted.

The previous time limit was 12 months.

What are the implications ?

If an application for further provision from an estate is not made within six months of the grant of Probate or Letters of Administration, the claim is barred from proceeding unless the Court gives an extension of time. An extension may be given on any condition the Court sees fit.

A hearing before the Supreme Court is required for the request for an extension of time. The beneficiaries of the estate cannot simply agree amongst themselves that the time limit be extended. If the request for an extension is contested, it could end up costing the applicant, or sometimes the estate, thousands of dollars in unnecessarily incurred legal fees. Those costs are in addition to the costs of preparing the rest of the case seeking further provision from the estate.

One day too late, may be too late – the Court cannot grant the extension after the estate has been lawfully and fully distributed.

What should you do?

If you, or your client, are considering making a family provisions application, it is essential that you act quickly.

For more information contact the Dispute Resolution team:

Greg Brackenreg — Partner — Dispute Resolution
(02) 6279 4409
greg.brackenreg@meyervandenberg.com.au

Michelle Gold — Senior Lawyer — Dispute Resolution
(02) 6279 4464
michelle.gold@meyervandenberg.com.au