Published 21 Jun 2016
Author: Richele Nelsen
Our client approached GMP Contesting a Will Lawyers following the death of her father in 2014 to enquire about Contesting a Will in NSW. The NSW Central Coast man died leaving behind a wife and two adult daughters. His last will and testament left the entirety of his estate to his wife. This wife was of a second marriage, later in life, and she was not the mother of the deceased’s children. Through fear of not receiving any legacy from her father once the deceased’s widow passed away our client contacted our office to enquire about challenging a Will.
Our experienced lawyers were able to assist our client in obtaining information about her late father’s assets. It was found that her late father owned his home jointly with his wife at the Central Coast of NSW and had joint bank accounts with her totalling approximately $140,000. Accordingly, the deceased’s wife, our client’s step mother, stood to gain full ownership of the property worth approximately $700,000 and full ownership of the cash held at the bank.
Luckily for our client this was an estate within NSW and as such we could make a claim for notional estate. This is a concept only available in NSW estates where the court is able to make an order whereby a joint asset can be used to make provision for a person making a claim for family provision.
Whilst our client owned her home in Rockhampton she was in no way living comfortably. She was in receipt of a disability support pension with savings of less than $1,000 and credit card debts and personal loans of about $25,000. For this reason proceedings were commenced in the Supreme Court of NSW seeking an order for family provision in favour of our client.
The defendant, being the deceased’s wife and sole beneficiary, refused to participate in any negotiation or settlement discussions throughout the course of the matter. As such the matter was listed for a hearing before His Honour, Justice Hallen in March 2016. Justice Hallen found in favour of our client awarding provision from her late father’s estate, despite the fact that all assets were held in joint name and there was only a modest sum of liquid assets available. Justice Hallen made and order that our client be provided with $25,000 from the estate of her late father and that her full legal costs be paid on top of that provision.
Our client was able to utilise these funds to pay off her debts and in turn ease her financial pressures.
Have you been left out of a will? Are you thinking about contesting a will? Contact our experienced will dispute lawyers today.