Two Sydney teenaged sisters have launched legal action against
their family to try and secure $90 million left to them by their
grandfather who died leaving a $2.5 billion estate.
The sisters don' t want more money, but argue the Will
doesn' t make "adequate provision" to ensure they
receive their share as they are beneficiaries of two family
The legal challenge centres on concerns the value of the
inheritance held in trust will diminish over time.
Wills expert Joshua Crowther of Stacks Law Firm said the case
illustrates how people can claim against Wills, even if they are
due to receive what most people would consider more than
Mr Crowther said that under NSW law if a person leaves assets as
part of their estate it can be challenged by certain people under
Section 57 of the Succession Act 2006 (NSW).
"This automatically includes spouses and biological
children but also includes stepchildren, carers and friends so long
as they show they were members of the household and dependent on
the deceased," Mr Crowther said.
"The latter category also need to prove what the law calls
' factors warranting' meaning they have to show that their
relationship with the deceased was so close that the deceased had
an obligation to provide for them in the estate."
But Mr Crowther, a Law Society Accredited Specialist in Wills
and Estates, says this just allows them to commence a claim.
Whether they are successful will depend on the strength of
relationship, size of the estate, intentions of the testator (the
person who wrote the Will) and most importantly – the
financial need of the claimant.
"We' ve seen over the last 18 months that courts are
less inclined to make provision for claimants, especially adult
children, although this depends on subjective facets of each
"It can also depend on legal arguments put for the claimant
and the sympathies of the judge hearing the case if it gets to
court, where it is notoriously difficult to predict the
"Most disputes are settled in mediation, and it' s
usually far better to resolve cases before they get to court. It is
cheaper and should be a result both sides can live with."
Mr Crowther advised anybody thinking of challenging a Will to
get expert legal advice before they embark on a legal challenge
that can be costly without achieving the desired result.
"Challenging a Will can be based on a very emotional
response, and it' s vital people get expert independent legal
advice and not let emotions drive the case."
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