My sister wants my brother and myself to challenge my fathers Will as he has left his Estate in Trust to us all. He has stipulated that we are not able to access our inheritance until our 40th birthday. We feel that this is an extreme request and as adults we should be entitled to what has been bequeathed to us immediately. Do you think that we have a case?
Yes, you and your siblings have a case to Challenge your father’s Will under the Succession Act (NSW).
In a recent decision of the Western Australian Supreme Court, Mead v Lemon , the youngest daughter of the deceased claimed she had not been left with adequate provision from the Estate of her father.
The value of the Estate was immense, having an estimate value of over $1 billion dollars.
Under the terms of the Will the youngest daughter had been left approximately $3 million dollars. This money was to be held in Trust until she reached 30 years of age. In addition, under the terms of the Trust, the daughter would not receive any of the money if any of the following occurred:
- She became an alcoholic and/or whose capacity for rational behaviour in a competent and satisfactory manner has been impacted by alcohol;
- She has at any time suffered a conviction relating to drugs, their use or any other illegal association therewith in any recognised form;
- She is or has been in the opinion of the Trustees recently suspected or knowingly had any involvement or association whatsoever in relation to illegal drugs;
- She has, in the opinion of the Trustees has become a drug addict or become involved with illegal drugs as a result of the legal use of drugs for any reason whatsoever;
- She is, in the opinion of the Trustees a member of or in any other way involved with any religious body other than the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian, Baptist, Uniting or other similar traditional faiths; or
- She has been convicted of a felony at any time after the deceased’s death or within 10 years before the death of the deceased.
The Court held that the Will of the deceased did not make adequate provision for his youngest daughter. In reaching the decision the Court took into account the size of the deceased’s Estate as well as the manner in which the deceased had set up the Trust.
The Court found that adequate provision had not been made for the youngest daughter when considering the form in which the provision had been made including the conditions attached to the Trust and the age restriction on accessing the monies held in the Trust.
The Court ordered that the youngest daughter receive a lump sum of $25 million from the Estate and that the Estate pay her legal costs in challenging the Will.
If you need advice on avoiding Challenges to a Will in NSW, you need to seek legal advice from an Expert Wills & Estates Lawyer. You need to speak to the expert lawyers at Sydney Wills Lawyers on how to avoid Challenges to a Will. We specialise in Wills & Estate Law and pride ourselves on our open and honest communication with clients.
Call today to see if you have a case on 02 9221 2779.