In the recent decision of Wright v Wright[i] two adult children, who were completely left out of their father’s will applied for further provision from the estate. The estate was valued at approximately $1.7 million. $630,000.00 was left to a charity and the residuary estate was divided equally between the testator’s two sisters.
Estrangement between the deceased and the two applicants was a central issue to the case. The deceased for approximately twenty years spent time away from home in the Navy. The applicants an adult daughter born in 1966 and an adult son born in 1969 lost contact with the deceased in 1979 approximately three years after the deceased had separated from their mother. The adult daughter had unsuccessfully attempted to reconcile with the deceased. Both applicants were of good character and modest means. The daughter also suffered from ill health.
His Honour made the following findings:
- The lengthy period of estrangement was relevant to the decision because it was part of the ‘whole of the relationship between the applicants and the deceased.’ However, the applicants’ conduct did not disentitle them to the benefit of an order.
- The applicants demonstrated that inadequate provision was made in the Will. Both applicants were employed, did not own a home and were not financially stable. The adult daughter also suffered from a psychological disorder.
- If the testator had been fully aware of the circumstances of the applicants, it would have been wise and just to provide substantially for his children while still leaving significant gifts for her sisters and the charity.
Hi Honour ordered provision of $400,000.00 to the daughter and $350,000.00 to the son and costs paid out of the estate.
We can help
This case demonstrates that estrangement does not stop an application for further provision by an adult child. For further information and advice in relation to further provision applications, please contact Turner Freeman Wills and Estates Lawyers on (07) 3025 9000 or via our online enquiry form.
Alternatively, you can visit us at any of our Queensland offices in Brisbane, Logan, North Lakes, Ipswich, Toowoomba, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Cairns.
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Jenna Hutchinson is employed as an Associate in Turner Freeman’s Brisbane office. Over the past 2 years, Jenna has worked exclusively in the area of Succession Law as this is where her passion lies.
Jenna always strives to do the best she can for her clients to ensure that their wishes are adhered to, as well as tries to achieve the best outcome for her clients if they have been unfairly left out of a Will. She is also experienced in defending the Estate against complex claims.
[i] Wright v Wright  QDC 74