The estate of an eight-year-old boy was put into question when his illness started to rapidly deteriorate, forcing the court to make a fast decision about his Will.
Background on the family and estate
The boy was born with severe lack of oxygen under conditions that could have been prevented. He is severely disabled because of those conditions and suffers from spastic quadriparetic cerebral palsy.
Due to the medical negligence surrounding his birth, he was awarded a very large some of money in compensation: $5.7 million.
To complicate things further, the boy has been taken care of throughout his short life by his two grandparents, as his mother and father were deemed incapable of giving him the care he needs. His parents also have several other children who they do not care for. Three of them also live with the grandparents, one lives with another grandparent and another lives in refuge accommodation. Only one sibling remains in the care of the boy’s parents.
The boy’s age when he received the significant sum of money, and his complicated familial situation, called for the NSW Trustee and Guardian to be appointed to manage the large estate. The money was used to pay for the home that the boy lives in with his grandparents, his siblings, and his aunt who is 24 and contributes to his care. They also used the money to purchase a family car.
In March 2018, the idea that a Will should be created for the boy was proposed by the Secretary of the Department of Family and Community Services. A meeting was held between the boy’s grandparents and members of the Department. The proposed Will would pass the estate to his grandmother, who is the boy’s primary caretaker.
The Supreme Court’s quick decision
The boy’s condition began to deteriorate after he was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia. His condition worsened quickly, and doctors predicted he only had hours to live. Because of these circumstances, the Supreme Court decided to make a fast decision about his Will, determining that it would be better for everyone if it was in place before he died.
The judge determined that if the mother and father received any power over the estate in the Will, it would likely not be managed properly, as they were deemed unfit to care for the boy.
The judge also noted that the grandmother had taken on her care duties admirably and had sufficiently discharged those duties throughout his life. The judge ordered that the estate be a trust in favour of the grandmother, giving her wide powers of appointment. The assets will continue to be managed by the NSW Trustee.
If you believe that you have been treated unfairly in a Will, you may be eligible to contest. Get in touch with our lawyers at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers today for more information.