What do you need to be aware of, when Contesting a Will. There are a number of things that you need to be aware of and how they can impact on your family provision claim.
The first thing that you need to be aware of is, whether you are classed as an “eligible person” under the Succession Act and able to make a family provision claim. The second thing you need to be aware of is that, unless there are exceptional circumstances, any application Contesting a Will, needs to be made to the Court within 12 months from the date of death of the deceased. The third important thing in Contesting a Will is, understanding the requirement to prove to the Court, that you have been left without adequate provision for your education, maintenance and advancement in life.
In the recent New South Wales Supreme Court decision of Revell v Revell  the plaintiff was required to prove to the Court that his father had not made adequate provision for him in his Will by leaving him $1.5 million.
The plaintiff was 60 years old at the time of the death of his father Tibby. Tibby, a Hungarian Jew who had survived the Holocaust, had accumulated substantial assets during his lifetime and his Estate was valued at approximately $10 million.
In Tibby’s Will he gave legacies of $1.5 million to his son and daughter and left the residue of his Estate to his second wife, Ziggy.
The Plaintiff was not happy with his $1.5 million legacy and commenced court proceedings to obtain a more generous legacy of between $3 million to $4.5 million.
The Court noted that adult children have no automatic right to a share in the estate of a parent. The Court also had regard to the written statement left by Tiggy, explaining why he had not made any greater provision for his son than the legacy of $1.5 million. The main sentiment in this statement was that, after careful thought, Tiggy felt that he had done enough over his son’s lifetime and that a legacy of $1.5 million was a sufficient gesture towards his son.
The Court reached the conclusion that the legacy of $1.5 million was adequate in the circumstances for the plaintiff’s proper maintenance and advancement in life. The Court further stated that ‘adequate’, does not mean generous and a Will of a person can only be interfered with so far as is necessary to make adequate provision, but no further. The Court calculated that if the plaintiff invested the $1.5 million it would generate an annual income of $90,000 and this was adequate for the plaintiff’s proper maintenance and advancement in life. The Court dismissed the application by the plaintiff for a more generous legacy from Tiggy.
If you need advice on Contesting a Will or defending a Will, 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 successfully Contest a Will or defend a Will. We specialise in Wills & Estate Law and pride ourselves on our open and honest communication with clients.
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