Our earlier blog, “Family Provision Application: Disentitling Conduct and Estrangement – an Overview” provides a summary of what constitutes disentitling conduct and estrangement, and how that can impact on a Family Provision Application. This blog provides a recent case example of disentitling conduct and estrangement, which ultimately led to the dismissal of the applicant’s Family Provision Application.
Practical example of disentitling conduct and estrangement
In a recent Family Provision Application case, the last surviving child of the deceased was left out of his mother’s Will. The deceased left the entirety of her estate to her granddaughter. The claimant led evidence that he was a loving son who was always desirous of having a close relationship with his mother, however, was pushed away by his mother over the course of many years.
The granddaughter named in the Will led opposing evidence that the claimant was violent and hostile towards the deceased. The granddaughter also relied on other witnesses who led evidence that there was a long history of violence and abuse by the claimant towards the deceased. One witness recounted an incident where the claimant had grabbed the deceased by the throat, pushed her against the wall with a lit cigarette lighter and threatened to set the deceased on fire. It was established that the violent conduct had occurred over a number of years, and was not merely an isolated incident.
The Court found that the claimant was abusive and physically aggressive to the deceased over a number of years, which led to the deceased excluding the claimant from her life and eventually cutting off all contact with him. The Court dismissed the claimant’s Application and allowed the granddaughter to keep the entirety of her grandmother’s estate.