Woman awarded $200,000 after Contesting a Will

Published 23 Jul 2013

A New South Wales woman has been awarded $200,000 after successfully Contesting a Will belonging to her late father.

The woman (the plaintiff) was one of seven children to survive the deceased, who died at the age of 87.

While other siblings received properties or at least some monetary bequest, the plaintiff simply had a $14,000 debt she owed her father forgiven.

As a result, she felt that she had not received adequate provision from her father’s Estate.

While to a certain extent each person is free to direct the distribution of their assets in their Will as they please, the law does recognise that people have a moral obligation to provide for those dependent on them when they die.

Eligible persons – including children of the deceased – can make Family Provision claims when they believe that adequate provision for their proper maintenance, education or advancement in life has not been made.

This is what the plaintiff in this situation chose to do – contest the Will in order to seek what she saw as an adequate share of her father’s Estate, given her circumstances.

When the case went before the NSW Supreme Court, the judge considered the plaintiff’s personal situation when deciding whether adequate provision had been made for her.

At the age of 56, the plaintiff had recently separated from her partner of nearly three decades and had few assets to call her own.

On the evidence, the judge noted that the debt the plaintiff owed her father, which was ostensibly forgiven in the Will, appeared to have already been cancelled in the past.

The judge therefore decided that the plaintiff had not received adequate provision in the Will.

The next determination was how much to award her from her father’s Estate.

The figure of $200,000 was decided upon because the judge believed this would give the plaintiff enough to buy her ex-partner’s share of their apartment and then reduce her mortgage to a level she could expect to repay by the time she retires.

This would put her in a solid financial position heading into her retirement years.

Her case is an example of a successful Family Provision claim, but before undertaking any action to Contest the Will of a loved one, it is important to get expert advice.

Contesting Wills lawyers can provide this support and help you seek the provision you believe you deserve.

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