The deceased, Robert John Real, died at 86 and left a will gifting all his real property to his friend, Donna Costigan, and dividing the residue of the estate equally between Donna and the deceased's great-grandchildren. The deceased did not make any provision for Grover, his only grandchild.
The relevant facts were as follows: Grover’s father had become quadriplegic as a result of an accident when Grover was 2, after which the father returned to live with the deceased and Grover remained with his mother. For a period of time when Grover was 15/16, he lived with the deceased and assisted the deceased to care for his father. Grover’s father predeceased the deceased. At the time of making the will, the deceased identified Grover as a potential claimant, however, he noted that he only spent school holidays with him and briefly resided with him.
Was Grover an Eligible Person?
The court held that Grover was an eligible person, noting the following:
- Grover had been partially dependent on the deceased for a point in time. Although, the extent of financial dependence was limited. During the period he lived with the deceased, he was provided with accommodation and board. Moreover, Grover was considered to be emotionally dependent on the deceased as, given his father’s condition, the deceased had played a significant role in his life. It was also noted that the deceased, when making his will, did not expressly deny that Grover had been dependent on him.
- There were factors warranting the making of Grover’s application, namely the close relationship and emotional bond between Grover and the deceased, that Grover was the deceased’s closest blood relative, and the whole of Grover’s father’s estate had passed to the deceased rather than Grover. Moreover, Grover could not expect to inherit anything substantial from his mother and Grover had been identified as a beneficiary in prior wills.
The court held that Grover had been left without adequate provision for his proper maintenance or advancement in life and made an order that he receive a $225,000 provision from the estate.
Grandchildren will be able to contest their grandparent's will provided that they meet the eligibility criteria. That is, they must demonstrate that they were wholly or partly dependent on their grandparent for a period of time and that, given all the circumstances, there are factors which warrant a family provision application.
However, even where a grandchild meets the eligibility criteria, a family provision claim will only be successful where they can demonstrate that they have been left without adequate provision for their maintenance, education or advancement in life.
DISCLAIMER: The information provided above is published for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be nor should it be relied upon as a substitute for legal or other advice.