Sibling conflict over Wills is a common occurrence. Family provision claims in New South Wales allow living relatives to contest a Will if they feel that they were treated unfairly or they deserve a portion of the deceased’s estate.
A recent case brought to light the problems that can arise if certain family members are treated differently than others in a Will, especially if children of the deceased are involved.
Background and details
A woman who died in July 2014 left behind a Will that included provisions for her five children. The plaintiff in the case – one of her children – was mostly excluded from the Will, except that he was given the right to reside in one of the deceased’s properties with his sibling and his sibling’s son.
The plaintiff is now making a family provision claim. He is an ‘incapable person’ with a mild intellectual ability that medical professionals predict will deteriorate and is represented by the NSW Trustee in the case.
The original defendants were the plaintiff’s four siblings, who were all included by their mother in the Will and designated the executors and trustees. However, one sibling of the plaintiff was removed as a defendant because he is the plaintiff’s caregiver.
The deceased’s estate is substantial, comprised of two properties, a Land Cruiser, cash, and household contents. The estimated total of these assets is around $4.7 million, as follows:
- Property in Glenorie, estimated worth of $2,750,000.
- Property in Bathurst, estimated worth of $600,000.
- Toyota Land Cruiser, estimated value of $19,500.
- Cash, totaling $1,335,242.
- Household property, estimated value of $7,500.
The focus of the current proceedings is the cash amount that’s worth over $1.3 million. The plaintiff sought to receive $600,000 from this sum in his family provision claim.
The court’s ruling
The judge found that the Will did not adequately provide for the plaintiff’s proper maintenance, education or advancement in life, per Section 59(1)(c) of the Succession Act 2006. His health conditions and the likelihood that he would need institutionalised care in the future were taken into account.
The court ordered that the plaintiff receive $300,000 from the estate.
If you believe you have been treated unfairly in a Will, you may be eligible to make a claim for compensation. For a free consultation, contact our team at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers. We can guide you through the legal process and help you fight for the compensation you deserve.