In the matter of Griffiths v Lewis [2013] VSC 609, the sister of the deceased had made an Application for revocation of Probate. The Court had previously granted probate of the deceased’s Will, dated 1 March 2012, to the deceased’s niece. The 2012 Will left:

  • household items, ornaments and the sum of $5,000 to another party; and
  • the residue of the estate to the niece.

The sister made the Application to revoke the Probate of the 2012 Will alleging that:

  • the deceased did not instruct his solicitor to prepare the 2012 Will;
  • the niece exerted undue influence over the deceased to make the 2012 Will;
  • the deceased did not sign the 2012 Will; and
  • the deceased may have lacked testamentary capacity around the time that the 2012 Will was made.

The Court referred to some of the principles relating to standing to make an Application to revoke a grant of probate set out in Re Culina; Poulos v Pellicer [2004] NSWSC 504 as follows:

  • Probate litigation is interest litigation. It is not to be undertaken or interfered in by outside busybodies. This has been established here and in England for many years.
  • The sufficiency of interest is usually stated to depend upon whether the person seeking to challenge the document propounded will take a different, meaning greater or even lesser, benefit in the estate if that document is not admitted to probate.

The Court dismissed the sister’s Application and held that the sister did not have standing to seek revocation of the grant of probate of the 2012 Will because:

  • the sister is not a beneficiary under the 2012 Will or an earlier Will, dated 19 June 2000;
  • the sister had no present or future interest in the deceased’s estate; and
  • even if the 2012 Will were found to be invalid, the 2000 Will would become operative and the sister is not named as a beneficiary under the 2000 Will and has no interest in the estate – there cannot be an intestacy in the circumstances.

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