A woman has successfully contested the will of her late mother, with the judge awarding the plaintiff $268,400 after a Supreme Court ruling.
The claimant, who was the younger of two daughters, took her case to court when her mother left her entire estate to the plaintiff’s older sister, who was also the defendant and executor.
According to court documents, the majority of the estate consisted of a piece of real estate in the Sydney suburb of Greystanes, with the parties agreeing the property was worth approximately $800,000.
There was also $19,000 in rental income from the dwelling, as tenants had been living there since November 2014 – one month after the deceased passed away.
The plaintiff launched a family provision claim arguing that she had not been left an adequate proportion of her mother’s estate as per the Succession Act 2006.
Weighing up the facts
Justice Philip Hallen had various points to consider ahead of making a ruling. First, the plaintiff received considerable financial support from her mother and father – who predeceased his spouse in 2010 – prior to their death.
In fact, her parents purchased a Merrylands property in 1956 for £3,150, which they transferred to their younger daughter in 1985. The plaintiff subsequently sold the home for $136,000 four years later, with none of the proceeds going to her parents.
Furthermore, the claimant’s parents purchased a hairdressing salon circa 1981. This business was again transferred to their younger daughter, who sold it for $21,00 – approximately three times its original price.
The plaintiff acknowledged that her parents had gifted her these assets on the understanding that they would leave the Greystanes property to her sister, and both sisters were aware of this arrangement.
Despite the agreement between the parents and the daughters regarding the distribution of assets, Justice Hallen ruled that adequate provision had not been given to the younger daughter.
She was awarded $268,400, which was 40 per cent of the estate’s estimated value, leaving her sister $420,000. The plaintiff will be awarded the money as a lump sum once the Greystanes property is sold.
This particular case highlights how contesting a will can still be successful even when prior arrangements have been made regarding the distribution of an estate.
If you would like to learn more about how to proceed with a will dispute, please contact Gerard Malouf & Partners Will Dispute Lawyers today.