Following his death in May 2019, Bob Hawke’s family has been engaged in a legal battle surrounding the payout from his will.
The terms of an agreement separate to Hawke’s will stated that each of his three children – Susan Pieters-Hawke, Stephen Hawke and Rosslyn Dillon – along with his stepson, Louis Pratt, were to receive $750,000 from his estate. The reminder of the provisions would be inherited by his widow, biographer Blanche d’Alpuget. Included in the sum that will go to d’Alpuget will be the proceeds of the sale of Hawke’s $15 million home in Northbridge.
In July 2019, Dillon announced she would be contesting her stake in her father’s will, which she conveyed to her stepmother in a phone call around that time.
Now, her sister is speaking out. Susan Pieters-Hawke told ABC that her disbursement of her father’s will was enough to live on. “I’m grateful for what I received,” she said. “It’s made a difference to me in my life.” As for her take on her sister contesting their late father’s will, “I don’t share her view on this one and beyond that, I honestly regard it as a private family matter.”
The discord between d’Alpuget and Dillon can be traced back to the former’s 1995 marriage to Hawke, Austrailia’s longest-serving Labour prime minister. Hawke’s children had a fraught relationship with their stepmother, as she was Hawke’s on-off mistress during his first marriage to Hazel Masterson. Dillon, along with her brother and sister, were estranged from d’Alpuget for some time, but managed to repair their rapport in the almost 25 years since their union.
Yet, it seems that dissonance may have been restarted when d’Alpuget failed to mention both Dillon and stepson, Stephen Hawke, at their father’s memorial service. Instead, she acknowledged Pieters-Hawke and Sophie Taylor-Price, the granddaughter of the late PM.
The legal strife between Dillon and d’Alpuget is still ongoing. Unless the disagreement is handled privately, it could go to the New South Wales Supreme Court to rule on the allegation of inadequate family provision.
Facing your own inheritance dispute? Gerard Malouf and Partners can help you understand the various nuances of this process. To learn more about contesting a will, contact GMP today.