Son Who Was Left Out of Mother’s Will Obtains His Inheritance
In a recent case a son wished to contest the will of his mother’s deceased estate. We were able to negotiate a successful outcome for him without the matter proceeding to trial. The important points in his favour were that he contacted us soon after his mother passed away, the claim was filed with the Court promptly, and detailed instructions were provided to us to prepare the affidavit evidence that would be used at the hearing.
The deceased mother was survived by two sons and she left her entire estate to the younger son and appointed him executor under her will. The executor of the estate defended the will on the basis that he had closer contact with the mother having lived with her for many more years than the older son, who had after the parents family law property settlement and divorce lived with his father. We advised our client to make a claim under the Family Provision Act seeking orders that half the estate be paid to him and half to his brother. The major asset of the estate was a property owned by their mother.
The case was listed before the Court and directions were made as to the filing of evidence. Like many cases where a claim is made on a will the family’s history and factual matrix is important. In this case the older son who had originally lived with his mother and brother after the parents separated was sent by the mother to live with the father to alleviate the cost of providing for herself and the younger brother, and another sibling who subsequently died. It was because of the elder son’s relocation to live with his father that the mother and his younger brothers were able to enjoy a higher quality of living and education.
We prepared detailed affidavit evidence, which included the relevant family history as well as the financial needs of the eldest son and then invited the estate to consider negotiating consent terms of settlement without the recourse to expensive and adversarial litigation. After conducting settlement negotiation consent terms were agreed that were satisfactory to our client and the estate. The benefits of the negotiated were that; our client received his fair inheritance, legal costs were saved for the estate and the matter was resolved on a basis that preserved the brothers’ ongoing relationship.
The legal costs of the claimant were paid by the estate on the sale of the principal asset and we agreed to await payment of our professional fees until that asset was sold. As a result the client received his inheritance and received his share of the proceeds of sale quickly in circumstances where had he not consulted solicitors for advice he would have received nothing. As we were able to negotiate consent terms of settlement with the estate he received his inheritance more quickly than if he had to await the Court’s decision following a contested trial.