The Will Challenge LAWYERS
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SOME OF OUR RECENT SUCCESSES
We have successfully acted in the following matters:-
1. Children find father’s Will gave the estate to a volunteer worker
The will-maker was a father who had two children who lived overseas. The children had copies of their father’s Will, which showed that they would share the estate equally. They returned to Australia to visit their father whenever circumstances and their finances permitted. When the father passed away the children came back to Australia for the funeral and discovered that a new Will had been made leaving the bulk of the estate to the volunteer worker who delivered meals to their father.
2. A will-maker misunderstands trusts and mistakenly leaves children with shares that are worthless
The will-maker was a man with two adult children from his first marriage and no children from his second marriage. He had a successful business with a complex corporate structure including two family trusts. The will-maker made it known that when he died his second wife would be looked after, but his children would get the bulk of the estate. However, after he died it became clear that he had not understood his corporate structure, or the function of the trusts, so that the Will effectively left everything of value to the new wife and the children’s share was valueless.
3. A will-maker leaves entire estate to second wife despite having good relationship with children from first marriage
The will-maker was a divorcee with children from his first marriage. He remarried and at the time of his death had a good relationship with all of his children and with his new wife. After his death it was discovered that the will-maker’s Will left his whole estate to his second wife and nothing to his children.
4. Parents leave estate to wealthy best friends instead of their only daughter, because they did not approve of her husband
A husband and wife had an only daughter. The daughter married a man who the parents regarded as being beneath them. They refused to attend the wedding and refused to communicate with the daughter unless she left her husband. The daughter tried for many years to makeup with her parents, but she was not prepared to leave her husband, with whom she remained in a loving marriage. When the parents died their whole estate was left to their best friends who were independently wealthy. The Will did not include any gifts to the daughter.
5. Otherwise sane will-maker forms mistaken view that her daughters had stolen all her money and therefore leaves no part of the estate to the daughters
The Will maker was a widow with two daughters. She did not have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. She was not senile however for some unknown reason she formed the view that her daughters had stolen all of her money. In all other respects the medical experts believed she was of sound mind. She told her friends and her doctor that her daughters had stolen all of her money. The Will left no part of the estate to the daughters.
6. Will-maker includes condition in Will that son will not get entitlement until he turns 65
The will-maker was a widow who had a son and a daughter, The son had been married and divorced, and had been in a couple of de facto relationships. The Will divided the estate equally between the son and daughter, however there was a condition in the Will that meant that the son would not get his entitlement until he turned 65 years of age.
7. At the time of the will-maker’s death, his estate was insufficient to cover bequests made in his will.
The will-maker was a father who had three children and several grandchildren, each of whom were left a certain amount of money under the will. However, this money was tied up in property, a superannuation fund and an insurance policy at the time of his death. The residue of the estate was also left to his third wife, despite the fact that they appeared to have a strained relationship in the years approaching his death. There was an inadequate amount of money available to his children and grandchildren to support their current and future needs.
8. One of the beneficiaries under the will and one party who was not a beneficiary sought further provision from an estate.
The will-maker had three daughters, one of whom was the executrix of her estate. The executrix had already begun to administer the estate when one of her sisters sought further provision from the estate. Administration was halted. The will-maker’s granddaughter also commenced proceedings seeking further provision from the estate. The executrix was required to resist each of these claims.
9. The will-maker left a small amount to one of her sons and a larger amount to her other two sons.
This son had a turbulent relationship with both his mother and his father. As a result the son suffered moderate psychological damage. Upon the will-maker’s death, the son was left approximately one tenth of the amount left to his brothers under the will, an amount inadequate to support his current and future needs.
10. An error appeared to have been made in the drafting of the Will, as it included bizarre terms.
A will was drafted under which the will-maker’s second wife would inherit the residue of the estate and his daughter would receive nothing were he to predecease his wife. It appeared that this did not record his true intentions. It appeared that the will-maker intended to confer a benefit on the daughter and this was not rewarded in the Will. The daughter sought further provision from the will-maker’s estate.
11. A widow sought to recover debts and interests owed to her by the estate.
The will-maker and his widow made a Binding Financial Agreement before his death. Pursuant to this agreement, the widow was obliged to maintain a property that formed part of his estate and she sought to recover money from the estate for renovations made under this agreement. Furthermore, she requested that the estate’s one-half interest in the property be sold to her and that the estate pay her relevant costs.
12. A Will was not updated despite a change in the will-maker’s circumstances, so his children sought further provision from the estate.
The will-maker had drafted his Will more than thirty years before his death, leaving the whole of his estate to one of his five children. Circumstances had since changed, meaning that there was no significant reason for the estate not to be distributed equally between the children. The other four children therefore sought further provision from the estate.
13. The will-maker listed his housekeeper as the residual beneficiary, making inadequate provisions for his children and grandchildren.
The will-maker left nominal bequests to his children, with the residue of the estate left to the children of his housekeeper, who had lived with him for a six month period more than thirty years before he died. Further provision was sought under the estate as the distribution as the Will did not cater to the current and future needs of his children and grandchildren.
14. The children of a will-maker sought to recover a family company’s debts from their father’s estate
The children and second wife of the will-maker were entitled to the residue of a small estate. The will-maker and stepmother had previously misappropriated dividends and taken out several loans under a family trust, of which his children were beneficiaries. The children sought to recover this debt from the estate on behalf of the family company.