Recent case opens discussions about beneficiaries who care for their loved ones

Published 15 Nov 2016

There are a number of reasons why many beneficiaries to a will are unhappy with their compensation and feel like they need to contest a will to make things right. In some instances, this is because an individual either had a different relationship with the deceased or because they put greater efforts into their care in their final weeks.

It’s this latter reason that’s prompted a recent case in NSW where a will is being contested based on a claim for family provision. While the plaintiff in question is named in the will, she’s asking for further compensation based on her relationship with the deceased.

Does playing a caring role entitle you to a larger claim?

The crux of the plaintiff’s case is the fact she played a “major role” in caring for the deceased (her father) throughout his final years, which she believes separates distinguishes her from the other beneficiaries who didn’t offer the same care.

The deceased’s children were the only beneficiaries named in the will, but they were each offered varying amounts. The deceased sons were awarded significantly more than the plaintiff, despite not offering the same level of care to their father.

According to the plaintiff, she suffered a significant financial burden as a result of this commitment to assisting with her father’s medical care. This included taking months off work – some of which was without pay – and redrawing on the mortgage she shares with her partner.

Part of the motivation for claiming more compensation stems from the fact that the $90,000 she was awarded doesn’t account for her future needs, including planned medical procedures and paying off the aforementioned redrawn mortgage which has risen since it was first opened in 2003.

The case is still ongoing, but at this stage the judge has agreed to hear the plaintiff’s case and is satisfied that she is honest about her financial position.

What affects family provision cases?

The point of a family provision claim is to ensure that a deceased’s surviving family members receive enough money to support specific needs, such as ongoing medical needs or, in this case, mortgage payments.

The court will consider the amount the deceased left to specific beneficiaries in relation to these requirements, so it is essential to be honest to ensure a fair outcome for all parties. To find out more, get in touch with the team at Gerard Malouf and Partners.

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