by goingbonkers  02/10/2009  24 Comments  4009 Page Views
Wills, probate, letters of administration, powers of attorney


I all I have been watching this forum for the last 12 months now and I doubt that any of you can assist my situation but I thought that sharing my story may help someone in the future. I will put the facts in point order so you can tally them and see if if the current situation seem fair.

My father died over 12 months ago leaving the almost all of his estate to 2 of his 4 children.
The children are all between 40 and 50 years old, non are destitute and none are very wealthy.

The two who received the bulk of the estate had a close relationship with the father despite his over bearing manor . They did this because they felt that having a relationship with your father and forgiving him his shortcoming was best thing to do.

The to who were left little ( 1% each) as they decided 20 years ago they would be better off with no contact with him as they could not tolerate the way he would criticise and “suggest how they should live there life”. One also has claimed an inappropriate sexual advance (not rape) by the father in here teens ( denied by father when alive ).

The children who were left very little of the estate are now contesting the will using the “Family Provisions Act”.

FYI
The act was originally created to protect dependants who were not adequately provided for by estates. (ie leaving your estate to the gentleman's club rather than your young children and wife).
Over time the interpretation of the act has been distorted to cover people who were not the original target for protection. These include ex-wife's and adult children adequately provided for in there youth and has from tine to time been extended to house keepers and next door neighbours.

Here is the real problem
In effect the law as is currently being interpreted means that if you choose to distribute you estate in a particular way and valid claimant ( ie any body you've had a substantive relationship with in your life ) chooses they can make a claim against the estate. As the courts will generally make the estate pay for cost for a claim unless the it is ridiculously mischievous and the cost of going to court will be in the 10s of thousands most cases don't go to court and will be settled at mediation. The estate will be extorted for an amount greater than court costs just to mitigate risk.

Here is the result.
Mediation has failed despite the claimants being offered a quarter if the estate.
20 percent of the estate will now be spent on lawyers.
The intended recipients may only receive less than less than 50 percent of there entitlement.
The lawyers get rich ( do a search for “contest will” and see all the ads) this is a cash cow.

Sorry this is a bit rambling but I tried to condense a complex issue into as few paragraphs as possible.