Family provision and 30 years of estrangement

estrangementI am always fascinated by the outcome of family provision claims where the applicant is an estranged adult child.

Naturally, the case of Wright v Wright [2016] QDC 74 piqued my interest.

The case involved a testator leaving a significant estate valued at approximately $1.7 million dollars. Within his last will, the testator elected to disinherit his children and benefit his siblings, plus a specific gift to a charitable organisation.  The testator had very little to no contact with the applicants for over 30 years.

The children both claimed for further provision from the estate.

The Court considered many of the familiar elements when dealing with estranged adult children.  The children themselves did not appear to have significantly detrimental personal situations, however both had not obtained “financial success” during their lives and one had suffered some mild health issues.  Both of the applicants appeared to, as most of us would call it, “get by” in life.

Notwithstanding the significance of the time that had passed where no real relationship existed between the testator and his children, the Court determined to award the following:

  • Daughter to receive $400,000.00
  • Son to receive $350,000.00

The Court qualified the difference between the awards made on the basis of the steps the daughter had made during her father’s lifetime to establish a relationship with him.  The son did not take any similar steps and was aware of his sister’s attempts.

Interestingly, the Court felt that the costs of the proceedings be paid from the estate but that they should be paid specifically from the specific gift to the charity and not to burden the interests of the other beneficiaries. The Court awaits further submissions with respect to costs.

You can read the case here.

 

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5 thoughts on “Family provision and 30 years of estrangement

  1. Hi Michele,
    Watch this space re the charity bearing the costs. The Judge indicated he was thinking of making that order but invited submissions. The charity put in submissions last Friday objecting to such course. A written judgment is expected.

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    1. Thank you, Caite! My apologies. I misread the last sentence of the judgement. I’ve edited my post accordingly. I’m very curious as to the outcome re costs. I’m sure i’m not the only one.

      Like

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