I should have received something in the Will!
If a person leaves assets as part of their estate, it can be challenged by certain people under the Inheritance (Family Provision) Act. Typically those people are spouses, a de facto, children, stepchildren and people who may be dependent on the deceased. The success of a claim will depend on the strength of the relationship, the size of the estate and the wishes of the deceased and the financial need of the person making the claim.
A court is not concerned with the ‘fairness’, ‘moral duty’ or ‘equity’ when it is asked to consider the terms of the disposition of a deceased’s estate. Rather, it considers whether ‘adequate’ and ‘proper’ provision has been made for persons entitled to make a claim under the Inheritance (Family Provision) Act. One of the considerations a court will take into account is the ‘character and conduct’ of the applicant. Typically this is considered in cases where a parent has decided to deny or confine the testamentary provisions for one or more of their children as a result of that child’s poor ‘character and conduct’ either generally or towards their parent by treating their parent callously, withholding their love and support from them in their declining years and even more so when the callousness is accompanied with hostility.
The recent case of the two Sydney teenagers who have commenced an action against their family to try to secure $90 Million left to them by their grandfather who died leaving a $2.5 Billion estate. The claim by the teenagers is that the Will doesn’t make adequate provision to ensure that they receive their share as they are the beneficiaries of two family trusts. They are concerned that the value of their inheritance will diminish over time. They also claim that they, together with their mother, were dependent on their grandfather to provide for them. Last count, there were 22 people making claims on the fortune.
We may never know what the outcome of this was as the parties were to engage in mediation last July.
Want to know more?
Watch Suzi Cengarle speaking with Meier Paul Real Estate on Estate Planning, the role of Executor and Probate, Wills, Power of Attorney and Advanced Care Directive.
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