Granddaughter Contests Will of Grandmother and Receives Significant Settlement

Published 16 Feb 2016

Author: David Cossalter

Our client, a granddaughter of the deceased, contacted GMP Contesting a Will Lawyers, when she learnt that the deceased, had not adequately provided for her and her brother in her last will and testament. Our client explained to David Cossalter, a senior contested wills lawyer, that she lived with her grandparents for intermittent periods of time after her father won custody of her and her brother. Our client had numerous questions about contesting a will and whether she met the grounds to contest a will.  Our client was successful in her claim and received a fair share of the estate.

It was very clear from the outset that the relationship between our client and her biological father was a turbulent one. However, her relationship with her grandmother was very comforting. Our client felt that her grandmother had raised her and always looked up to her as her mother. The value of the deceased estate mostly compromised of real property, which had been left to a beneficiary that suffered from a serious neurological disease. Our client felt that given her current financial situations it was unfair that she had not been left a share of the estate.

It was explained to our client at the initial conference that she was eligible and fell within the criteria of persons that could consider contesting a will.

During that initial conference the client was provided with valuable information on what needed to be prepared and what information was needed when contesting a will. Generally speaking, it was explained to the client how to contest a will and a detailed explanation was provided as to why she did in fact have grounds for contesting a will.

The matter was commenced at the Supreme Court of New South Wales by filing and serving a Summons on the Executor of the Estate. After lodging a Notice of Eligible Persons, affidavit of the client and an affidavit of Mr Cossalter, the parties attended a settlement conference with representatives of the estate before Justice Hallen, a Judge of the Supreme Court of NSW.

The claim successfully settled and our client and her brother were awarded a sum of damages commensurate to their financial need.

However, the deceased’s son, the client’s father, also lodged a contesting wills claim at the Supreme Court of New South Wales 3 days before the time to lodge a claim expired. The claim named our clients as defendants.

As our client had already successfully settled her claim, orders were sought by Mr Cossalter to have the money awarded to our clients, held by the court, until the fathers contesting wills claim had resolved. We were successful in this application forcing the estate to seek resolution with our client’s father.

The matter was litigated between the father and estate. A mutual sum was agreed between both parties.

When the matter was heard at the Supreme Court of New South Wales, Justice Hallen considered the nature of the claim. His Honour considered that as the value of the estate was vastly made up of real property, which has been specially constructed to meet the disability needs of the beneficiary, the amount of money being released from the estate was concerning. His Honour was particularly concerned that the orders did not represent the wishes of the deceased.

However, as the orders for our client were final, he could not change them. Additionally, his Honour noted that if he did not accept the agreed orders of the father, the matter would go to hearing and the estate would incur incredible costs which could not be recovered.

Accordingly, His Honour allowed the sum agreed for the father and our clients sum to be given by the estate.  

Our client and her brother received $132,500.00 from the estate.

This case shows that no matter is too complicated for the talented and dedicated solicitors at GMP Contesting a Will Lawyers. Mr Cossalter, in particular, will never shy away from a challenge and will fight your claim to the end.

If you are a widow, De facto wife/husband, partner or a person who has resided with and all have been dependent on a person throughout that person’s life and you have not been provided for in his or her will, contact the experts at GMP who could help you.

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