Published 31 Oct 2017
Author: David Cossalter
Our client was the second wife of the deceased. They were married in the late 1980s, when our client was in her 60s and they remained married and living together for 20 years until her husband’s death in late 2010. Our client was 83 years old when her late husband passed away and upon his passing discovered that she was only a 25% beneficiary to his inner west estate. Believing this was unfair, our client contacted the contesting a will team at Gerard Malouf and Partners to see if there was anything they could do to right this wrong.
Our client’s husband had two surviving sons from his first marriage. The Will favoured the youngest son (the executor and principal beneficiary) over our client and the eldest son.
The Will granted our client a life tenancy to be co-occupied with the eldest son and the executor was bequeathed the general residue. Our client provided various reasons why she did not wish to live with the eldest son and the Will provided a mechanism of distribution if this was to occur with our client to only receive one quarter of the estate. This was not a sufficient bequest to ensure that our client could live comfortably in her old age and possibly have enough funds to ensure that she went into a suitable retirement village should she need to.
The estimated value of the estate was approximately $1,100,000.
Seeing such an injustice the expert Contesting a Will team, headed by David Cossalter, commenced proceedings in the Supreme Court of NSW seeking to ensure a larger share to be provided to the plaintiff.
Having failed at mediation David Cossalter, with the assistance of his expert Barrister, Mr Philip Bates, proceeded to bring the matter to final trial where a determination in favour of our client was made. Our client was to receive 50% of the estate after the payment of just estate expenses, a reasonable position given her age and financial needs.
At Gerard Malouf and Partners were able to identify that the offers from the estate were not reasonable. We had the knowledge and understanding of the law to be confident in bringing the matter to final successful conclusion at trial.
If you have been left out of a will or feel that the entitlement you have received is not fair and just, feel free to talk to one of our contesting wills lawyers on 1800 004 878.