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Grandmother dies without seeing granddaughter in 15 years
A woman became a grandmother when her only child, a daughter,
gave birth to a girl in 1995.
Sadly, the woman's daughter committed suicide in 1996 when
the granddaughter was just 18 months old.
The granddaughter then lived with her father at various
locations in the Brisbane area and in regional parts of NSW.
She visited her grandmother between 2000 and 2003.
However, from 2003 until the grandmother's death in
September 2017, the grandmother and granddaughter did not see each
Grandmother's new will reduces granddaughter's share of
In 2009 the grandmother had made a will granting small gifts to
some of her friends and making her granddaughter her primary
In April 2017, the grandmother visited the solicitor who had
drafted her 2009 will and told him that she wished to change her
He prepared a new will, which the grandmother signed later that
In this will, the grandmother left just twenty per cent of her
estate to her granddaughter and split the remainder equally between
There was no dispute that the grandmother enjoyed a close and
long-standing relationship with these friends.
Grandmother dies and granddaughter challenges will
On 8 September 2017, at the age of eighty-seven, the grandmother
She left behind an estate worth about $920,000.
The granddaughter, who was not happy that she would receive less
under the 2017 will than under the 2009 will, challenged the 2017
She argued that the 2017 will was invalid due to her
grandmother's incapacity at the time of signing that will.
This claim was rejected by the court.
However, she also argued that irrespective of the terms of the
2017 will, she was entitled to a family provision order granting
her the whole of her grandmother's estate.
To succeed, the granddaughter had to establish, among other
things, that she was wholly or partially dependent on her
case a - The case for the granddaughter
case b - The case for the estate
I am entitled to a family provision order amounting to the
whole of my grandmother's estate.
My mother was my grandmother's only child and I am my
grandmother's only grandchild. After my mother's death,
whenever my grandmother and I spent time together, she treated me
as if I was her daughter. She was the closest thing to a mother
figure to me.
My grandmother used to say to me: "One day all of this
will be yours. With your mother gone, you are all I have." She
even made me the primary beneficiary of her 2009 will.
I was also partially dependent on my grandmother at various
times in her lifetime.
In 2001, when my father caught chicken pox, my grandmother came
to Brisbane from Sydney to take care of me.
Between 2000 and 2003 I travelled to Sydney on three or four
occasions to stay with my grandmother for a month at a time. My
grandmother would look after me and we would garden, play music, go
to the park, cook together and go to the shops. My grandmother also
bought me a pet rabbit and several goldfish.
I wasn't able to see my grandmother after 2003 because she
and my father weren't speaking then and my father forbade me
from seeing her.
However, my grandmother and I still maintained a close
relationship through letters, cards at Christmas and Easter, and
regularly speaking on the telephone about once every second
My grandmother also sent me regular food packages with
biscuits, cakes and clothing three to four times a year. She also
sent money orders, usually of $300, about three to four times a
As a grandchild who was like a daughter to my grandmother and
partially dependent on her, I am eligible to make a family
provision claim against my grandmother's estate. The court
should recognise this.
The granddaughter is not eligible to make a claim against her
grandmother's estate because she was never at any time even
partly dependent on her grandmother.
Infrequent and short stays with her grandmother do not make her
dependent in the ordinary sense of the word. Even if she was
dependent, she was merely minimally dependent, not "partly
dependent" as required by law in order to challenge the
The granddaughter claims that she and her grandmother sent
letters and cards back and forth and spoke on the phone. However,
no evidence of this was produced.
Similarly, no evidence was produced regarding food packages and
money orders being sent to the granddaughter by her
The granddaughter says that she couldn't see her
grandmother because her father forbade her from doing so. However,
even if her father's influence was significant, there were
still years when she was an adult and could have contacted her
grandmother. She didn't do so.
Since the granddaughter was not even partially dependent on her
grandmother, she is not eligible to make a claim against her
grandmother's estate. Her case should be dismissed.