Legal Hypothetical:Son-in-law makes will claim

Son-in-law makes will claim

PETER and Dianne have been married for 30 years.

Unfortunately, Dianne unexpectedly passes away, aged 50.

When Dianne’s mother passes away fifteen years later, she leaves the whole of her $2 million estate to her sole surviving daughter, Ruth.

Peter believes that he should have received something under the will and makes a claim.

Peter has no standing to make a claim by virtue of being a son-in-law of the deceased. However, persons who can establish that they were dependent upon a deceased person and a member of the deceased person’s household are eligible to make a claim.

Peter says there were two periods of time during which he and Dianne lived with her mother and were dependent upon her.

He says he lived with Dianne’s mother for three months in 1998 and one month in the year 2000.

He says that he was out of work at the time and was dependent upon her for accommodation.

He says that Dianne’s mother also provided him with food during the periods of time they stayed with her.

Peter’s evidence indicates that he has substantial financial needs because he has no significant assets and his only income source is a Centrelink pension.

Peter asks the Court to award him $200,000.

The Court rules that Peter is eligible to make a claim on the basis that he was, albeit only briefly, a dependant member of Dianne’s mother’s household, but in assessing the evidence, makes a number of relevant observations.

The Court finds that Peter’s relationship with the deceased was not “quasi-parental” as he alleged, that he made no contribution to the estate of the deceased and that Peter has no right to make some form of “tracing claim” in relation to Dianne’s “missed inheritance”.

The Court ultimately dismisses Peter’s claim on the basis that he failed to demonstrate a social, domestic or moral obligation on the deceased to make provision for him.

Email Manny Wood, Principal Solicitor and Accredited Specialist in Wills and Estates at TB Law at or call him on (02) 66 487 487.

This column is only accurate at today’s date and cannot be relied upon as legal advice.

By Manny WOOD, Solicitor

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