Published 16 Dec 2015
Author: Richele Nelsen
Our client’s father died when she was just 25 years of age. His estate was left to his wife at the time, our client’s step-mother. When our client’s step-mother died in 2014, she left the entirety of her estate to her nieces, neglecting to make any provision for our client, her step-daughter. The step-daughter contacted GMP Will Dispute Lawyers to see if she could challenge a will or make a claim on the estate.
The estate was a property in Port Macquarie worth approximately $500,000 and these funds had already been distributed to the beneficiaries before our client’s claim for family provision had been made. Our client was residing in Queensland, but the deceased was living in NSW at the time of her death, and accordingly her estate was dealt with under NSW legislation, being the Succession Act.
In order to succeed in a claim on a step-parent’s estate in NSW the applicant must demonstrate to the court that they both lived with and at some point was dependent upon the deceased person. Under the succession act of NSW, if this criteria is not met a claim for family provision cannot be brought.
Our client had lived with her step-mother for a period of about 2 years from the age of 16 to18. Our experienced will dispute lawyers were able to successfully submit an argument that during this time our client was dependent upon not only her father but also her step-mother.
Following the death of our client’s father, she maintained some contact with her step-mother sporadically over the years.
At the time her step-mother died, our client was 70 years of age, caring for her ill son and trying to pay off her mortgage. These factors assisted in the argument that our client was in financial need to be provided for by the estate. The defendants argued that based on the short period of dependence, and lack of contact with the deceased over the years, there was no obligation for our client’s step-mother to have made provision for her in her will.
We were able to successfully negotiate a settlement of our client’s family provision claim ahead of any court hearing or mediation. This allowed our client to save substantially on legal cost and court delays leading to an early resolution of her claim. Our client settled her estate claim for $45,000 which she was able to use to pay off credit card debts and reduce her mortgage.
Have you been left out of a will? Do you believe you have grounds to challenge a will or make a family provision claim? Call our experienced will dispute lawyers today on 1300 768 780.