Published 20 Sep 2016
Author: Richele Nelsen
A Newcastle man contacted GMP Family Provision Claim Lawyers following the death of his step-father. Our client had lived with his step-father throughout his teenage years. His mother and step-father later divorced however our client maintained sporadic contact with the deceased following the divorce and leading up to his death.
Our client’s step-father left a will making provision for his biological son and one of his step daughters. The deceased made no provision for our client, his step son, leading him to seek legal advice on contesting a will. The circumstances of our client’s claim led us to commence proceedings in a claim for Family Provision.
In order to succeed in a claim for family provision an applicant must first demonstrate they are an eligible person and that they have a financial need to be provided for. In NSW, step children are not automatically recognised as eligible persons to contest a will. However, if a step child can demonstrate that they have both lived with the deceased and been dependent upon them throughout a period in their lifetime, they will be recognised as an eligible person.
Our client was in his 50’s, single, living in rental accommodation with no savings. He had $36,000 in debt. The estate was worth approximately $550,000 and arguably large enough to make provision for our client’s needs.
The deceased had one biological son, two step daughters and a step son (our client). His will made provision for his biological son and one of his step daughters. Claims for family provision were brought on behalf of both our client (the step son) and the deceased’s other step daughter who had also been left out of the will. The parties participated in informal settlement discussions to canvas the possible resolution of their respective claims. The parties were able to come to an agreement whereby our client was to receive a 1/5 share of his step father’s estate.
This resolution was able to reached without the need of a lengthy or costly court hearing and our client is now able to discharge his debts and set aside some funds to plan for his future.
Have you been left out of a will? Do you have any enquiry about contesting a will? Call GMP Will Dispute Lawyers today.