Legendary jockey Pat Eddery passed away in November 2015, leaving behind an estate worth approximately 1.3 million pounds (AU$2.1 million).
However, the Irishman’s controversial decision to bequeath the entirety of his fortune to his girlfriend, Emma Owen, could lead to an inheritance dispute, particularly after he failed to name any of his children as beneficiaries.
Eddery, who was 63 when he died of a heart attack after years of struggling with a well-publicised alcohol problem, had three children with his ex wife Carolyn: Nichola, 34; Natasha, 31; and Harry, 22. He also had another son, Toby, 27, from an extra-marital affair.
Eddery’s rocky relationship with children
Ms Owen began working at the jockey’s training yard in 2009, just six months after his wife had walked out on their 31-year marriage due to his alcoholism. Soon after, Ms Owen moved in with him at his Aylesbury stud farm home in Buckinghamshire.
She is now set to receive 733,894 from his estate, once liabilities, inheritance tax and funeral expenses are taken into account. But the Mail reported that Ms Owen believes Nichola has decided to contest the will.
Eddery’s children had a poor relationship with his new girlfriend, although Ms Owen claimed he had provided for his daughters and sons for many years before they cut off contact.
“They didn’t like it (the relationship) and they used [his] drinking to excuse their own behaviour. He didn’t turn his back on them at all,” she stated.
Was alcoholism to blame?
Natasha argued that her dad’s alcoholism was the root cause of the split, adding that she had last seen him in 2010 after bringing him home from rehab. She said he began drinking again immediately afterwards.
The 31-year-old added that her and her siblings, as well as Eddery’s close friends, had all tried to support him, but they had ultimately failed.
Discussing the will, she said: “I have put all my stuff about my dad behind me It doesn’t really bother me. It’s his choice. I’m not upset about it because my dad was ill and I didn’t see him as my dad any more.”
In NSW, a case such as this could lead to a family provision claim, whereby people who feel they have not been adequately provided for can challenge the will of a loved one.
Have you not been named as a beneficiary in a will? Please contact Gerard Malouf & Partners Will Dispute Lawyers to discuss your options.