Affinity Lawyers first discussed the Western Australian case of Lemon v Mead back in April 2015, (you can read the article here).
In essence, the case deals with the estate of a wealthy mining magnate who left two of his surviving children approximately $400 million each in his will, while the remaining surviving child (a daughter named Olivia, born as a result of a subsequent relationship) was to receive only $3 million. Further, she would only receive this if she complied with very specific and restrictive requests stipulated by her father throughout the document.
There was also the likelihood that due to the ambiguity of the wording used in the will, Olivia may not have received any inheritance at all, even in the event that she complied with the outlined requests.
After the matter came before the Court in 2015, the Judge found that the deceased had not made adequate provision for Olivia in his will, and ordered that she receive $25 million so that she may be financially secure for the remainder of her life.
The Estate lodged an application with the Court of Appeal in Western Australia stating that the Judge erred in his decision and the matter is now back before the Court of Appeal.
Olivia was paid $3 million at the time of the ruling, and the balance of $22 million was placed into an interest-bearing bank account pending the outcome of the appeal which was launched by the Estate.
In submissions made to the Court on Thursday last week, the Estate’s lawyers are challenging the original Court Order, arguing that the living estimates advanced by Olivia at the trial were fanciful and ‘quite extraordinary’, and went beyond what would be adequate and proper for her future needs, and that the original amount of $3 million was sufficient.
The appeal continues and we will keep you updated.
This case serves to highlight the problems that can occur with an incorrectly drafted will, and the expense that can be involved if there are family provision challenges made. It is vitally important that you obtain legal advice as to the effect of your will from an experienced and professional lawyer who will ensure that your estate is administered in accordance with your wishes upon your passing.
We strongly recommend that you contact our experienced and professional Gold Coast lawyers on 07 5563 8970 to arrange your estate planning and will consultation today.