Daughters and son fail to win family provision claim on $16m estate
Published 04 Aug 2015
A NSW Supreme Court judge has rejected a family provision claim brought by the elderly children of a deceased Chinese businessman.
Their father left an estate said to be worth up to $16 million, but he failed to include his daughters in his will. The man’s son was bequeathed a property worth approximately $1.7 million and a $50,000 lump sum, but he argued this was inadequate for his needs.
The majority of the estate went to another son, who had helped run his father’s business ventures and allowed the deceased to reside with him when he became too frail to live on his own.
In the will, the deceased claimed he had not provided for his daughters from the estate because he believed he had already given them sufficient financial support while he was alive. This included gifting them three residential units each as part of a trust set up in their name.
However, the plaintiffs argued the man’s estate was large enough that he could have been more generous. The siblings are aged in their 60s and 70s, although they are all in good health, except some minor conditions.
The inheritance dispute
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Unfortunately, the judge in this particular case said there were gaps in the plaintiffs’ case. Specifically, Justice Rowan Darke highlighted inconsistencies in their reported financial situations.
The siblings testified their outgoings were considerably higher than earnings, but did not provide evidence of how they were currently able to cover the shortfall. The daughters also allowed their sons to live in the units their father gave them, one of whom paid reduced rent and the other resided in the property at no cost.
Justice Darke said if the women were in real financial trouble, they should charge their sons rent. The daughters also received annual rent from the other units they owned, with one daughter earning at least $45,000 a year from this avenue.
He also suggested the son had received adequate provision in the will through the $50,000 payment and an unencumbered property. If the son encounters financial issues, the judge added, he could sell the home and downsize.
As such, the family provision claim was dismissed and the plaintiffs may have to pay the executor’s fees of defending the case.