Elder Abuse = Disentitling Conduct: FPA by adult daughter dismissed with costs

It is no surprise to any of my colleagues in the succession world that this topic is of great interest to me. So, you can imagine my interest when I found this case. A few days ago, the New South Wales Supreme Court determined a matter that involved a family provision claim by an adult…

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Decision Impossible, Part 2: Appeal against disabled son’s FPA dismissed, with costs

Near the end of last year, I wrote a post about an FPA by a disabled son where provision was ordered in favour of that son to the detriment of the surviving widow of the deceased. This was, I feel, aptly described in the title as “Decision Impossible” as the effect of the order was…

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Fractured Relationship: abuse and estrangement in FPA, provision ordered (NSW)

In the first post of this year, it seems fitting to write on the topic of disentitling conduct and estrangement, given my research interests in this space. Sadly, late last year saw the NSW Supreme Court determine a family provision application by a son against his father’s estate in what was clearly a very difficult…

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Decision Impossible: FPA by disabled son against widow, forcing sale of family home in notional estate (NSW)

Recently, the NSW Supreme Court determined a very difficult family provision application by an adult son, in circumstances where the adult son was otherwise healthy when the deceased passed away, but subsequently suffered significant health issues following his father’s death. Further, the only available assets for such a family provision claim were via notional estate.…

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Screen Test: Court of Appeal prefers lawyer’s evidence over medical on testamentary capacity (NSW)

Capacity is quite the minefield.  Any practitioner that works within this field, may very well agree with me.  I would even hazard a guess and go as far as to say that perhaps even medical practitioners may also share the same view. Recently, in the case of Drivas v Jakopovic [2019] NSWCA 218, the New…

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Duty Bound: solicitor’s duty to beneficiary of incapable testator after inter vivos transfer

It was in the context of preparing for the delivery of my recent presentation for The Tax Institute’s Death…and Taxes Symposium on the Gold Coast recently that I come to read a recent case of solicitor negligence in the context of estate planning. In the appeal decision of McFee v Reilly [2018] NSWCA 322, a…

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Danger Zone: costs against plaintiff in FPA in small estate (NSW)

Family provision claims in small estates is an inherit danger zone for claimants and lawyers. The recent case of Wengdal v Rawnsley [2019] NSWSC 926 has demonstrated this again where Justice Hallen has ordered that the plaintiff’s claim be dismissed and the plaintiff pay the defendant’s costs on the ordinary basis. In this case, the deceased…

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Missing element: High Court orders new trial in solemn form probate proceedings; denial of procedural fairness

It appears to be raining estate and trust law cases from the High Court of Australia over the last two weeks. Yesterday, the High Court of Australia ordered a new trial be held in relation to solemn form probate proceedings in Nobarani v Mariconte [2018] HCA 36 on the basis that the appellant as denied…

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What is “Contemplation of marriage”: Marriage revokes Will in blended family (NSW)

Last week, the Supreme Court of New South Wales published a judgement in a estate matter where the question of whether a Will was “made in contemplation of marriage” was a central focus of their attention. In the case of Re Estate Grant, deceased [2018] NSWSC 1031, the deceased made a Will dated on about…

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“Divorced from reality”: Appeal allowed in former spouse FPA claim (NSW)

Earlier this year, I was surprised to read a judgement where a former spouse successfully claimed for further provision from her former husband’s estate notwithstanding the pair had completed a property settlement 25 years prior. You can read my earlier post here. It may come as no surprise that the matter was appealed to the…

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Selfless surrender: defacto partner applies for Statutory Will to benefit mother and sisters (NSW)

  Sadly, it’s not often I read of a case where the applicant/plaintiff’s endeavours lack self-interest. Given the nature of estate litigation, generally in a good portion of the cases, self-interest takes a front seat.  Of course, that doesn’t mean to say that it is greed or something sinister that drives a person to take…

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Excluded child’s claim dismissed: 40 years of estrangement after bitter divorce (NSW)

In case it’s not already evident to my readers, I have a particular interest in family provision cases that touch on disentitling conduct or estrangement.  So, it’s no surprise this recent case in the Supreme Court of NSW caught my eye yesterday where a family provision application by an adult child, who was excluded from…

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Burden of secrets: Claim for secret trust within an FPA by grandchild (NSW)

Within a family dynamic, particularly as the elderly age and consider their demise, it’s common to hear of conversations being held between family members of “understandings” and benefits that may flow the next generation on the death of the elder. Promises made and, sometimes, others rely on those alleged promises. So what happens where there’s a secret of a…

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Escaping the Nest: Abandoning a right to reside and FPA 15 years out of time

Recently, the NSW Supreme Court determined a slightly unusual coupling of issues; a construction matter as to a right to reside conditional upon payment of expenses alongside a family provision claim over 15 years out of time. The recent case of Estate of George Roby, deceased [2017] NSWSC 265 involved the estate of the late George Roby who passed…

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Family Ties: Former wife successful in FPA where financial settlement finalised 25 years prior

I read, with interest, the recent case of Lodin v Lodin; Estate of Dr Mohammad Masoud Lodin [2017] NSWSC 10, which dealt with a family provision claim by a former spouse of the deceased where a financial property settlement had been reached some 25 years prior to the deceased’s date of death. In New South Wales, a claim for family…

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Blood thicker than water: novel intestacy case in NSW, Aboriginal half-sisters vs adoptive half-sisters

Starting the year off on a very novel case of an intestacy contest, Justice Lindsay of the Supreme Court of New South Wales was called to determine how distribution of an indigenous man’s estate should be distributed where his surviving family were Aboriginal half-sisters and adoptive half-sisters. The case of Re Estate Wilson, Deceased [2017] NSWSC…

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Contracting in Cali: Breach of contract to make Will

“Whatever starts in California unfortunately has an inclination to spread“: Jimmy Carter Gregory Coote was an Australian born entertainment mogul who sadly died earlier this year. Whilst he was born in Oz, he spent most of his later years living in California. In 2011, Mr Coote had been party to divorce proceedings from his second wife and subsequently entered into…

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