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 and at Tea Tree Gully 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

Marianna Danby

Senior Associate

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Senior Associate

LL.B, (Hons), GDLP

Marianna has obtained bachelor’s degrees in both Media and Law and was admitted to the Supreme Court of South Australia in 2017 after completing her Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice.

Marianna’s particular interest and focus is in the areas of wills and estates litigation and elder law.  Her approach with clients is genuine and honest.  She takes pride in guiding clients through tricky and troublesome waters and works with clients to achieve pragmatic and practical solutions.  Marianna is a strong advocate for mediation.

Marianna can assist in the following areas:

  • estate planning
  • deceased estates administration
  • inheritance family provision disputes
  • estate disputes
  • SACAT disputes
  • statutory wills
  • court appointed litigation guardian.

Early in her career Marianna gained experience in a variety of practice areas, including commercial and estate litigation, wills and estates, intellectual property, business sales, native title law, liquor licencing, property and general commercial and contract law.

Marianna is a member of the Law Society of South Australia.  She is also an affiliate member of STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners) and an active committee member of both STEP (SA) Branch Committee and the Emerging TEP Committee.

With a passion for education Marianna gives her time tutoring Succession Law at the University of Adelaide.

Contact Marianna Danby

Elyse Ramsay


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LLB(Hons), BMedia, GDLP

The proud daughter of a hardworking farmer-turned-truck driver, Elyse grew up drenching sheep and reaping crops on the family farm on the Southern Yorke Peninsula.  She completed a Bachelor of Laws with honours, a Bachelor of Media and GDLP at the University of Adelaide.  She was admitted to practice in 2020.  Elyse began her legal career at the Crown Solicitor’s Office before serving as Associate to the Honourable Justice Bampton of the Supreme Court of South Australia.  It was during her time with her Honour that she unearthed her passion for estate litigation.

Elyse regularly appears in the Supreme Court in relation to inheritance and estate disputes and represents her clients at mediations.  Elyse’s personal experiences inform her empathetic and practical approach to her practice.  She is cognisant of the emotional toll of litigation, especially after the loss of a loved one.  Elyse prides herself on providing her clients with a thorough understanding of their options and guiding them through the process with compassion.

Elyse practices in the following areas:

  • Inheritance (Family Provision) disputes
  • Estate litigation
  • Deceased estate administration
  • Presumption of death matters
  • Drafting Wills
  • Preparing Powers of Attorney and Advance Care Directives

Outside of work, Elyse is a keen cross-stitcher, loves a weekend spent visiting her mum on Hindmarsh Island and is on a perpetual hunt for Adelaide’s best bowl of phở.

Contact Elyse Ramsay