The grandchild of a deceased woman has successfully pursued a family provision claim through the NSW Supreme Court, resulting in the award of $460,000.
Under the Succession Act 2006, grandchildren are eligible to contest the will of a grandparent provided they were dependent or partially dependent on the deceased at some point before their death.
In this particular case, the plaintiff had lived with her grandparents during her teenage years after her mother struggled to care for her and her sister. The siblings moved into their father’s home, but his severe psychological and physical problems resulted in the girls being homed with their grandparents.
The plaintiff married at 19 and moved in with her husband, but she remained close to her grandmother and grandfather until their deaths in 2014 and 2011, respectively.
Contesting the will
The deceased left the entirety of her estate to her daughter, the plaintiff’s aunt and the defendant in this case, who was the executor of the will, as well as her mother’s power of attorney.
According to the deceased’s will, the plaintiff and two other grandchildren were not named as beneficiaries because they had received substantial financial support over the years “which necessitated sacrifices of considerable significance”.
However, the plaintiff claimed that her grandparents had promised 20 per cent of their estate to each of the three grandchildren, including herself, with the remaining 40 per cent pledged to the defendant.
The court had to decide whether this sequence of events was true and, regardless of the veracity of the claim, whether the plaintiff had been adequately provided for from the deceased’s estate.
Family provision claim decision
Justice Michael Slattery didn’t believe that a series of conversations occurred between the deceased, her husband and the rest of the family regarding their estate planning, despite what the plaintiff implied.
Nevertheless, he considered the plaintiff’s financial position to be precarious, with an outstanding mortgage, several credit card debts and loans, and significant home repairs required on her property.
The plaintiff had also suffered health problems that made it difficult for her to perform her job as a midwife.
As such, Justice Slattery awarded the plaintiff $460,000 to cover a considerable amount of her mortgage, freeing up thousands of dollars each month for other purposes.
Were you dependent on your grandparents at any point before their deaths? You could be eligible to receive a proportion of their estate, so please contact Gerard Malouf & Partners Will Dispute Lawyers.