The rhetoric regarding the dangers of the “age of entitlement” recently espoused by politicians in relation to the Federal Budget has rung true in relation to a Family Provision Act case made in relation to a family farm.
The court proceedings involved the Will of Mr W, who had left three farming properties in western NSW to his daughter. The daughter had been a partner in the farming business with her father
One of the daughter’s sons, that is a grandson of Mr W, commenced a Family Provision Act claim challenging his grandfather’s Will and seeking an immediate inheritance from his grandfather.
The grandson argued that he was entitled to receive one of the farms now and should not have to wait for his mother to hand over the reins when she retired or passed away.
The court considered whether the grandson had a right to inherit from his grandfather’s estate.
As a general rule, grandparents have no responsibility to provide for a grandchild – unlike a parent who should make adequate provision for the proper maintenance, education or advancement in life of a child. There are obvious exceptions to this rule, such as the grandparents who raise a grandchild on the death of the child’s parents.
In this case, the court also investigated the practicality of the grandson’s request – that is, whether the family farms could be divided between the grandson and his mother, and still operate as an economically viable enterprise. A court appointed expert deemed that division of the various landholdings on which the farming business was conducted would not be financially feasible.
Accordingly, the court upheld the grandparent principle and ruled that Mr W’s Will would stand – the daughter would inherit the farms to the exclusion of her son.
Needless to say, the court case created bad blood between the mother and the grandson, and it seems the mother had the last laugh – at the conclusion of the case she informed her son that he would be disinherited and had no prospect of ever running the family farm.
To ensure your Will does not create a family feud, contact the experienced Estates Team at Everingham Solomons where Helping You is Our Business.
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