New benchmark set for all estates to be treated equally

New benchmark set for all estates to be treated equally

21 December 2017

An appeal to a claim involving a love child, a substantial estate and a diamond encrusted guitar, has reached its conclusion in a decision which sets a precedent for all estates to be treated the same regardless of their size.

The original decision of the WA Supreme Court in Mead v Lemon [2015] WASC 71 involved a beneficiary – the love child of the testator of a substantial estate – who brought forth a successful Family Provision Act claim in which she was awarded $25,000,000. Dubbed the ‘diamond guitar case’ due to the beneficiary listing this item on her ‘wish list’ of things she needed, she was awarded essentially double what she had asked for at trial.

The case has since been appealed by the executors of the estate, with the Court of Appeal recently handing down its decision for a ‘proper’ provision of $6,142,000 in substitution of the $25,000,000 originally ruled by the WA Supreme Court.

There was a school of thought that following the first decision, very large estates were not subject to the criteria and tests that other Will challenges would otherwise be subject to, however the Court of Appeal has put those rumours to rest with their decision to reduce the daughter’s provision.

This article originally appeared in the Summer 2017 edition of InSuccession. Other articles in this newsletter included:

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