Barry Humphries’ son drops surname after will snub

Published 04 Aug 2017

Oscar Humphries has announced that he is dropping his surname after his father, legendary Australian comedian Barry Humphries, allegedly cut his son from his will.

The 36-year-old announced the news on social media, where he is now going by just his first and second names – Oscar Valentine. He explained his decision in a foul-mouthed tirade on Facebook.

“Changing my name. F*** you for disinheriting me,” Oscar said in a post, which was later deleted.

“New name. I never wanted the little bit of money anyway. Liberating after the shock. The feeling is: ‘Well, I’ll do it myself’.”

Oscar was apparently told of his father’s decision to leave him out of the will at his engagement party to Sophie Oakley, daughter of explorer Tim Oakley.

Ups and downs in father-son relationship

Barry Humphries, well known for his television alter ego Dame Edna Everage, declined to respond to the story, according to the Daily Mail.

The elder Humphries has been married four times and has four children – two sons and two daughters. The Daily Express reported that Oscar was close to his father when his parents divorced, but the relationship seems to have soured since.

Meanwhile, Oscar claimed his posts were an “in-joke” meant for a friend, although he has notably failed to reinstate the family name.

Oscar, a former editor of art magazine Apollo, has had well-publicised battles with alcohol and drugs over the years. He also tried to commit suicide 15 years ago.

“My behaviour and my lifestyle were getting out of control,” he told The Mail on Sunday at the time. “I took my drug use one step too far.”

Contesting a loved one’s will

If Oscar has been left out of the will as reported, he may choose to pursue a challenge against his father’s estate.

Disputing the will means he could receive a share of his father’s assets, although the exact legislation governing the contestation will depend on where probate is granted.

While the 83-year-old Humphries was born in Melbourne, he has lived in West Hempstead, London, for the last four decades. As such, any inheritance disputes may play out in Britain.

However, there are broad similarities between will contestation laws in England and those in NSW.

For example, both have legal processes that enable loved ones to make family provision claims if they feel they have not been adequately provided for from the estate of the deceased.

If you’d like to know more about contesting a will in NSW, please contact Gerard Malouf & Partners Will Dispute Lawyers.

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