Perhaps the most high-profile Australian case of a contested will in recent memory came to a close recently, as the daughter of former Prime Minister Bob Hawke reached an undisclosed settlement to end her dispute.
Rosslyn Dillon, who previously filed a claim for $4.2 million of Hawke’s $18-million estate, closed the deal a year to the day after her father’s death, according to News.com.au. At the heart of the issue was that Dillon, a mother of two children, argued her father did not adequately provide for her under the initial will, leaving her a sum of $750,000.
A closer look
Dillon is a recovering addict who has struggled with a low income and medical issues for some time, according to her court filings. Hawke’s will stated that each of his three children should get $750,000, and his widow, Blanche d’Alpuget – now going through treatment for breast cancer – should receive the rest of the estate. In addition to the provisions for his own children, Hawke also left $750,000 to d’Alpuget’s own son.
A large part of the case were claims made by Dillon – and later backed by her older sister – that she had been sexually assaulted by a Labor MP in the 1980s, as her father was pushing to advance his political career. Dillon alleged that he told her she could not go to the police about the issue.
Earlier this year, the dispute over the will was referred by courts to mediation, handled by a former judge, according to the New Daily. That process was scheduled for March, and had it been resolved at that time, the case was to be reconvened in mid-April. However, due to the assigned mediator being unable to travel for the hearing from South Australia, that did not go forward as planned. The mediation was rescheduled to mid-May.
If you believe that you or someone you know is in a situation where it may be necessary to contest a will, get in touch with the legal experts at George Malouf & Partners. We have years of experience dealing with all kinds of issues like these, and with our No Win No Fee programme and 90-day complimentary trial, you’ll get the full picture of what we can do for you at no risk.