After almost three years of contesting, it appears that the division of 80’s pop superstar George Michael’s estate has been made public. While Michael’s sisters have allegedly been cared for, both of his former partners were left out of the Will.
Partners excluded from Will
With an estimated fortune of over AU $170 million, potential beneficiaries of the Wham! star have been waiting with bated breath as to how the substantial estate would be divided. As previously reported, Fadi Fawaz and Kenny Goss had allegedly been left nothing from the estate. It’s believed that his sisters will inherit the majority of the estate, while his father is to receive a horse racing stud farm. Numerous precious items owned by Michael, including artwork and a piano that belonged to Beatles superstar John Lennon, are being left to charity.
What can I do if my parent left everything to charity?
In Australia, it’s perfectly legal for a person to leave the majority of their estate to a charity. If you’re to dispute the division of someone’s estate where they’ve left everything to a charity, you’ll first need to prove that you’re eligible to contest the Will in the first place. The Family Provisions Act 1982 (NSW) outlines a number of people who are automatically allowed to contest the Will, including:
- A spouse or partner of the deceased.
- The deceased’s children.
- Ex-partners of the deceased.
- A person who was, at one stage, dependent on the deceased.
- A grandchild of the deceased.
- Someone who shared a house with the deceased.
If you meet any of the aforementioned criteria, you’re legally allowed to contest the Will. However, a Court will still need to determine the nature of your relationship with the deceased, and whether they had a moral obligation to provide for you after their death, whether to further your education, advancement in life or cover general maintenance costs.
Where assets have been left to a charity, a Court will likely look at the link that the person had with the charity, and whether this was a decision considered “normal” or expected. If not, it may be found that the deceased wasn’t in sound testamentary capacity when they had made the decision. This could result in the Court awarding part of the estate to concerned parties. However, it’s important to note that in most cases a Court will side with the wishes of the deceased verbatim.
If you’re considering contesting the division of estate, especially where charity is involved, it’s vital to get in touch with the expert legal team at Gerard Malouf & Partners Will Disputes Lawyers to assist with your claim.