New commentary, including an entry specific to Widows claims, has been added to the Family Provision section of the By Lawyers Reference Guide 101 Succession Answers.
These enhancements reflect the recent Court of Appeal decision in Steinmetz v Shannon 2019 NSWCA 114. In that case, the Court of Appeal overturned the decision of a single judge where the court had refused to make further provision for the widow of a testator. The deceased left the bulk of his $6,650,000 estate to the adult children of his first marriage. The will gave the widow only an annuity of $52,000. The couple had been together for 28 years.
The Court of Appeal found that leaving a 65-year-old widow, who is capable of managing her own affairs, reliant for the rest of her life on quarterly payments by the children of her deceased husband’s first marriage, with one of whom there had been historical tensions, rather than placing her in control of her own resources, was not an appropriate form of provision. Instead, the Court of Appeal ordered that the widow receive a legacy of $1,750,000, in addition to the annuity.
The judgment includes a detailed analysis of the leading cases on widows claims. Additionally, it considers how the court should balance the competing imperatives of the deceased’s testamentary freedom and the legislative requirements for provision to be made for eligible persons. In considering the applicant’s need for maintenance, education and advancement, the Court of Appeal also acknowledged the relevance of the non-financial needs of the applicant, such as her desire to relocate to a bigger town for better access to medical care.
The new section in 101 Succession Answers discusses this Court of Appeal decision and widows claims generally. There have also been related and incidental enhancements made to other sections of the publication. The interactive alphabetical contents list has been updated accordingly to maintain the easy access to content which is the hallmark of all By Lawyers reference guides.
101 Succession Answers covers Powers of Attorney, Appointments of Enduring Guardian, Wills, Estates and Family Provision. This valuable By Lawyers reference guide is located in the Reference Materials folder on the matter plan in each of those publications.