FAMILY PROVISION – NO DARK CLOUD

In Ligeti v Ligeti (2016) VSC 448, the deceased (aged 90) left to his 52 year old daughter Julia under his Will 4,000 shares in NAB worth $140,000, and left the balance of his estate (worth $3.3 million) to his second wife Maria (aged 86).

Julia applied to the court for greater provision from the estate.

At the time of the trial, Julia owned assets worth $2.6 million and was earning approximately $200,000 plus superannuation per year from her employment.  She was single and had no dependants.

Maria owned assets worth $3.8 million and earnt $141,000 per year from dividends and interest generated from her own assets.

Maria and the deceased were married for 27 years, during which period she did not work.  Her assets reflected gifts to her from the deceased over the years and transfers of jointly owned assets consequent upon his death.

Julia had received a gift of $300,000 from the deceased ten years before he died.

The court dismissed the daughter’s claim, finding that the deceased did make adequate provision for her in his Will.

The court observed that “Julia’s current financial position is a comfortable one.  She is well qualified and has a very strong work history.  Julia has no debt and has shown a capacity to accumulate assets.  There is no dark financial cloud on the horizon.  Whilst it is true that Julia has nobody else to support her, it is equally true that she has no-one to support but herself.”

The court noted that Julia was strongly motivated to work and that it appeared likely she would remain in well-paid work into her sixties.  The court concluded that in all the circumstances Julia had failed to establish a financial need that her father had failed to meet.

If you have any queries about deceased estates, telephone our Chris Kohler or Ross Moschella on 3221 8655.