How common are family provision claims in NSW

Published 18 Jan 2018

Author: Garbis Kolokossian

Family provision claims arise when an individual believes a deceased loved one did not leave adequate financial support for them in their will.

Only eligible people in accordance with the Succession Act 2006 can pursue a claim, which - if successful - could result in the plaintiff receiving a larger share of the deceased's estate.

So how many people choose to embark on this type of inheritance dispute? We've examined some of the available research to see how many family provision claims are made nationally and in NSW each year. 

Family provision claims are the most common dispute type

Family provision claims made up more than half of estate contests across Australia in 2011, according to a recent University of New South Wales (UNSW) study. They comprised 99 of the 195 disputes nationwide for that year.

Research from the University of Queensland (UQ), Victoria University, the Queensland University of Technology and other organisations unveiled similar results.

The academic institutions reviewed various estate-planning studies and found that 51 per cent of judicial cases are family provision claims. Meanwhile, 86 per cent of public trustee files - which cover pre-court settlements and cases that went to court after failed mediation - were also this type of dispute.

Immediate family were responsible for 86 per cent of claims in the judicial case review, with children of the deceased comprising 63 per cent of plaintiffs and the remaining 23 per cent being spouses or former partners.

NSW is the family provision claim hot spot

The UNSW study confirmed that NSW saw by far the largest number of claims in 2011. The state was responsible for 60 per cent of disputes, which was three times higher than second-placed Victoria.

There is one family provision claim for every 122,831 people in NSW, compared with one per 293,395 Victorians. This shows the high rate of family provision claims in NSW notwithstanding the state's denser population.

Furthermore, family provision claims have jumped 52 per cent in NSW over the last seven years, according to figures published in The Australian in 2016. It is not clear why claims are higher in NSW, particularly as Victoria has less strict criteria for winning in court.

Nevertheless, the research from UQ and other academic institutions indicates rates of success are good for people who pursue family provision claims -around three-quarters of claimants can expect to receive a larger legacy.

Contact Gerard Malouf & Partners Will Dispute Lawyers if you would like to begin family provision claim proceedings.

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