As a child of the deceased, a daughter or son of the deceased is deemed to be a person eligible to bring a claim under the Succession Act which allows for eligible people to make an application to vary the Will. In NSW a claim must be made within 12 months of the date of death.
There is an emerging predisposition on the part of Judges of the Supreme Court that adult children bringing a claim for further additional benefits from the Estate, which their claims may be dismissed entirely or otherwise the provision made for them will be made in a paltry amount.
This is particularly true when a Court looks at the conduct of the adult children towards the deceased when assessing what weight to give to the deceased’s intention to deliberately leave adult children out of their will.
The starting point of the Act is that the freedom of the person making the Will is the foundation principle and that consideration and proper respect must therefore be afforded to a capable testator’s judgement. A Court cannot simply “ride roughshod over the testator’s intention.”
There is no rule or principle that the deceased has an obligation to make provision for an adult child. Neither is a testator required to look after a child for the rest of the child’s life into retirement.
In circumstances where there is evidence that the child has been callous, hostile or indifferent towards the deceased the Court will not look favourably on the clear intentions of the deceased in favour of adult children.
In cases of small Estates, where there is a surviving widow, it is sometimes deemed appropriate that no provision be left for the adult children at all.
An adult child cannot presume to have an automatic right to a share of the estate of a parent. Nor does an adult child have an automatic right to parity as between his and her siblings, as was found in the case of Revell v Revell.
At Everingham Solomons, we have the expertise to assist you with respect to such claims, because Helping You is Our Business.
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