Contesting a will setttlement as abusive mother leaves estranged son out of will

Published 30 Oct 2013

Author: David Cossalter

We were approached by a client with a view to contesting a will in NSW where his mother had passed away leaving him nothing.

Our client and his mother had been estranged for several decades primarily due to her abusive tendencies. Due to this estrangement our client was unaware of her death until he received a notice from the estate that a will dispute claim was being brought by one of his siblings. At this point he decided to make contact with our office and spoke with David Cossalter, the Contesting Wills Division Head Lawyer.

Regardless of the estrangement, we quickly realised that he was eligible to make a claim under the Succession Act 2006. We were able to identify that the reason for the estrangement was the fault of the deceased’s alcoholism. We established that the estrangement was not the fault of our client and on these grounds he was eligible to make a claim.

Once we were able to establish that the estrangement was not the fault of our client an eligible claim could be brought. We subsequently established that our client was in serious financial need with significant debts, having recently been made redundant from his job.

Having established that a claim was possible, we had one more hurdle to overcome. In New South Wales, a time for making a claim is 12 months and due to the estrangement this deadline had already passed. We were able to convince the Court that on account of the estrangement, which was of no fault to our client, a claim should be allowed outside the strict time periods.

Our client’s mother left a relatively small asset pool of $150,000. Our client’s situation was made more difficult by the fact that he had two sisters who were also making a claim on the estate. Given the size of the estate our client did not want a long drawn out legal battle. We were able to work together with the other parties to resolve the matter. Our client received $35,000.00 from his mother’s will.

Our client was very pleased that we were able to secure the amount for him and was extremely happy with the service provided to him by GMP Contesting a Will Lawyers.

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