Estate Litigation

Adelta Legal has one of the most capable and experienced teams of estate litigators in South Australia. We have considerable experience in both bringing and defending claims against estates.

What is estate litigation?

It is becoming more common to hear people talk about “challenging the Will” or “challenging the estate” of someone who has passed away.

There are two main reasons to challenge a Will or an estate.  The first reason is on the basis that the Will is invalid. The second reason is that a family member has received an insufficient inheritance from the estate, or has been left out altogether.

There are various legal approaches that can be taken to protect a person’s entitlement to an estate before distribution occurs. If you consider that you might wish to bring a claim against an estate, you should not delay in seeking advice from our estate litigation team.

Why choose Adelta Legal to assist you?

The estate litigation team at Adelta Legal has achieved considerable success both in challenging the validity of wills and in seeking further provision for clients from an estate.

Most estate litigation matters are resolved through negotiations, and at Adelta Legal, our tenacious approach and thorough knowledge of the law allows our clients to negotiate from a position of strength.

Should the matter not resolve by negotiation, our clients will have an experienced team with a strong reputation in the legal profession taking their matter to Court. 


We are always happy to meet with potential clients to discuss their estate litigation problems.  If, after receiving preliminary advice at an initial meeting, you do not wish to proceed with the matter, then you are under no obligation to do so and there will be no cost to you.

We understand that clients are not always able to afford to pay for a lawyer as a matter progresses.  Accordingly, in many cases we are happy to defer our fees until the conclusion of the matter.  In any event, we will discuss costs with you at your initial interview and keep you informed about costs as your matter progresses.

For more information on disputing a will click here and for more information regarding inheritance claims click here.

We have offices in the city, at Tea Tree Gully and Morphett Vale for the convenience of clients.   In addition, for the elderly or infirm, visits can be made to clients at home or in hospital.

Call us on 08 8415 5000 or send an email to make an appointment.

Key people for Estate Litigation

Mark Jappe


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LL.B., B.Ec.

Mark was admitted to practice in 1996 after obtaining Bachelor degrees in both Law and Economics from the University of Adelaide.

Mark worked in two of Adelaide’s leading law firms before starting his own firm, Jappe & Associates, specialising solely in wills and estates.

In 2013 Jappe & Associates merged with Adelta Legal, where Mark continues to offer specialist assistance with all aspects of wills and estates and in particular estate litigation.

Mark is well known for his work as a litigator, specialising primarily in contested estate matters in the Supreme Court.  Mark is commonly appointed by the Court to act as litigation guardian for parties who, due to either being minors or suffering from a disability, are unable to act on their own behalf.  He has also been appointed by the Court to administer deceased estates while potential beneficiaries engage in litigation.

He is particularly known both for his tenacity in litigation and for his practical and creative approach to resolving disputes.

Mark enjoys assisting clients with their estate planning and is experienced in obtaining grants of letters of administration and probate and assisting clients to finalise the estates of loved ones.

Mark can assist you with all wills and estate matters including:

  • estate litigation
  • wills and estate planning
  • probate and estate administration
  • powers of attorney and advance care directives.

He is a member of the Law Society of South Australia and has served on its Succession Law Committee since 2007.

Mark has been recognised by Doyle’s Guide as a preeminent estate litigation lawyer and as a leading estate planning lawyer.

Mark is also a nationally accredited mediator.  He primarily mediates matters involving contested estates or trusts, but is also available to mediate other types of disputes.

Outside of the law, Mark serves on the Board of the Mendelson Foundation, a charitable trust which awards scholarships to students who are resident in the West Torrens Council area.

When he is not busy assisting clients, Mark is a keen bridge player, having represented both his State and his country.

Contact Mark Jappe

Melissa Yule

Melissa Yule


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Melissa Yule



Melissa completed her law degree at Adelaide University while working initially at what was then Consumer Affairs, then as a law clerk at Ward & Partners – working across all areas of legal practice.

Since completion of her Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice in 1992, Melissa has practised almost exclusively in the area of wills and estates at a number of top-tier firms for 22 years before joining Adelta Legal as a Consultant in 2014.

Melissa practises in all areas including:

  • wills
  • enduring powers of attorney
  • guardianship matters
  • trusts,

and has a special interest in estate litigation.

Melissa regularly appears in the Supreme Court in relation to disputes about wills and estates and in the SACAT with respect to guardianship and administration matters, where her clients appreciate her blend of passionate advocacy combined with extensive legal knowledge.

Melissa is co-chair of the Law Society’s Succession and Elder Law Committee, and co-editor of that Committee’s quarterly publication “The Last Testament”.

Contact Melissa Yule

Bridget Shinnick

Senior Associate

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Senior Associate


Bridget is a highly valued member of the firm’s Estate Litigation Team.  In her time at Adelta Legal Bridget has obtained a wealth of experience in complicated wills and estates matters, including successfully obtaining grants of probate in matters involving missing wills, and improperly or incompletely executed wills.

Bridget is beloved by her clients, feared by her opponents and always calm under pressure.

Bridget has had great success acting for clients both bringing and defending claims pursuant to the Inheritance (Family Provision) Act.  Bridget regularly appears in the Supreme Court and Magistrates Court and has been involved in numerous successful mediations.

Bridget has also assisted many of our clients by appearing before SACAT, helping them to put arrangements in place for the care and protection of loved ones who can no longer care for themselves.

Bridget also assists our clients with:

  • estate planning, including the drafting of both simple and complex wills including testamentary trusts and clauses dealing with the protection of disabled beneficiaries
  • preparation of powers of attorney and advanced care directives
  • estate administration, including complex grants of probate or letters of administration.


Contact Bridget Shinnick