Estate Dispute: 'Kings School Old Boy V Poor Old Mother.'
A Supreme Court judge has castigated a King's School old boy who sued his mother for a share of his grandfather's $5.5 million estate.
Robert Wilcox, 46, and younger brother, Benjamin sued their mother after their late grandfather left his rural estate to their mother in his Will.
The judge referred to the brothers as having a ''highly developed and unhealthy sense of entitlement''. Under state succession laws, the judge rejected Robert’s claim for $1.1 million, however, ordered that he be paid $107,000 to clear tax debts and seven annual instalments of $40,000, commencing 2016.
Estate disputes are never pleasant matters for all involved. Disputes of this nature are typically between family members, where emotions tend to run high and relationships strained, if not severed, and substantial costs incurred.
In this case, the grandfather had a Will, which gave the court his clear intentions, that his daughter was to receive his estate and his grandchildren to inherit after her passing.
This is an exceptional case where two brothers, the grandchildren of the deceased, thought they could take their inheritance before the intended time in accordance to their grandfather’s wishes in the Will. Rather than allowing 'events to run their natural course', they sued their own mother.
Had the grandfather died without a Will, (i.e. intestate), and his wishes unclear, the estate dispute would be dealt differently and most likely a lengthier court proceeding would ensue.
When a person dies ‘intestate’, it means the court are given the discretion to decide what is an equitable and just distribution between interested parties, based on the circumstances of the matter and the financial positions of those involved.
In the event, there are no interested parties such as family members of the deceased then the estate is given to the commonwealth.
To prevent such things from happening to you or your loved one, it is important to discuss and consider drafting a Will. It is most important to think about such matters, when you have children, recently got married or have assets. Most people think they need to have substantial assets such as multiple properties to have a Will.
A Will is your last testament, once you are gone from this world, you will have no other way to express your wishes. What is going to happen to you children and who will be their guardians? What about your pets? What about your spouse, they may be living in your house which is solely registered under your name that you bought before you got married. Are you aware that if you don’t cater for what happens to your property under your sole name that your spouse won’t automatically be entitled to live there and may be forced to move out if your home is to be sold to pay off debts, where debts exceed your assets.
Having a Will gives you the control to give directions on of how your assets is to be managed, how funds are to be distributed, who will take care of your children and/or pets. Other matters such as how your funeral and burial is to be conducted and so forth.
A Will is an important and powerful document. Contact Odtojan Byl Lawyers, 0423 506 955
(Illustration by: John Shakespeare).
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