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Contesting a Will Case Review: Magur v Brydon [2014] NSWSC 1931

After being unfairly left out of her mother’s will, Daria Magur was left with the prospect of contesting a will, receiving a judgment of $170,000 from her mother’s Sefton Estate.

In 1952 the deceased, Mrs Wasyleha, migrated from Ukraine to Australia with her two daughters, Daria and Halyna.  She would leave her husband 2 years later.  In 1963 Mrs Wasyleha married her new partner, and together they set up a catering business in Melbourne, serving the Ukrainian Community.

Coming from a traditional Ukrainian background, the two girls worked from a young as part of the family business as waitresses without receiving any pay.  Daria was also in charge of the accounts, her mother having never received a proper education.  As she aged she took this on along with her job as a full-time secretary, working under the belief that one day the business would be her own.  Mrs Wasyleha was a difficult woman, and frequently threatened to never speak to Daria again if she refused to work in the family business.  Daria went on to have 4 children of her own, including first her son Andrew in 1969 to whom she would later be estranged.

In 1993 Mrs Wasyleha divorced from her husband, moving to Sefton in Sydney to be with family and friends in the Sydney Ukrainian Community.  The relationship between Daria and Mrs Wasyleha was happy for a time, but in the early 2000s Daria received a call from her accusing her of befriending her stepfather and his new wife.  It is not known what triggered this, though it was apparent that her estranged son, Andrew, had a hand in matters.  Daria would attempt to contact her mother over the next 9 years but without success.  It appeared that Mrs Wasyleha took Andrews side over Darias.

By the time of her proceedings Daria had little in the way of assets.  Although she owned her own home she was now 66 and had little in the way of retirement savings.  She also suffered from arthritis and depression, along with requiring a significant amount of dental work which she could not afford herself.

Daria had been left out of her mother’s will.  Attached to her mother’s will was a Statutory Declaration stating that Daria had been left out and that a considerable number of gifts throughout her life, but under close scrutiny these paled in comparison to the 27 years of unpaid work in the family business.  The Court granted Daria’s a judgment of $170,000 with the remainder left to Andrew, Daria’s sister Helyna and Andrew’s grandchildren who were by then young adults.

Have you worked as part of a loved one’s business?  Maybe you have found yourself in a feud with a loved one to find yourself unfairly left out of their will?  Call GMP Contesting a Will Lawyers on 1800 004 878 and speak to one of our experienced lawyers about contesting a will.  Timelines apply so call us today!

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