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Delusional Father Leaves Everything to Charity

Written on the 30 January 2015 by Adrian Corbould

Contesting a Will when everything has been left to charity...


2015 - Update

Following on from the previous article below, this case has now settled at the Supreme Court of South Australia.

Case Summary & Outcome

  • The only sole surviving beneficiary under the deceased's Will was a charity; the Royal Adelaide Hospital Research Fund (RAH)
  • The net value of the deceased's Estate was $1.8 million (after legal fees)
  • The deceased's daughter (plaintiff) alleged that the deceased lacked testamentary capacity when he made the Will
  • The daughter also established that her own daughter (the deceased's granddaugther) has a disability and needed to be provided for
  • Evidence was presented that showed her Father had suffered from delusions, with a Doctor stating that the evidence was highly suggestive of a background personality disorder with a superadded organic medical illness
  • The evidence presented by the plaintiff's legal team was enough to see the Judge make an order pronouncing against the validity of the Will

The Settlement

  • $85,000 was awarded to the deceased's granddaughter (who has a disability)
  • $200,000 was awarded to the charity; the RAH
  • The remainder was divided equally between the deceased's three children (approx. $505,000 each)

2014

An interesting contested Wills case originating from South Australia is about to make its way into the Supreme Court. The case concerns a distraught daughter who will contest her father's estate. The father, who was 82 at the time of passing, left his entire estate to the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) research fund. The daughter claims he did this because he was delusional and not in the right state of mind at the time he had his Will drafted.

The daughter, who is the eldest of three children, will be facing off against the Health Services Charitable Gifts Board in the Supreme Court later in the year.

In the documents filed with the Court, the daughter claims:

  • Her father forced his children to clean and perform maintenance duties at his business and various investment properties, while they were young and dependent.
  • Her father was a delusional and paranoid man who had installed security cameras around the perimeter of his home to spy on a neighbour who he had accused of poisoning his plants. The neighbour eventually moved house to escape the constant harassment. Her undeterred father then proceeded to hire a private detective and stalked the ex-neighbour until a restraining order was issued against him.
  • Her father had become suspicious that his children were not even his.
  • Her father was an abusive husband who had forced her mother to take a lie detector test and once shoved her into an empty swimming pool, which caused her to sustain an injury. Following the injury, he also refused to get any medical help.
  • Her father was abusive towards his children and allegedly punched one of his daughters during a wedding.
  • That on New Year's Day in 1999, her father was caught spying on his own family with binoculars from across the street.

If you are concerned or worried about a family member's future testamentary wishes, this case highlights the need to keep a detailed record of events that could, in the future, provide you with an historical background and context for a contested Wills claim. When keeping a record of events, it's important to note key dates, any involved parties (full names) and as much detail as possible about what occurred.


Author: Adrian Corbould
About: Adrian is an Accredited Specialist in Wills & Estates Law. He practises exclusively as a member of the Contested Wills & Estates team. For more than 10 years, Adrian has helped hundreds of clients, and his tenacity and experience make him one of the most sought after Will Contest Lawyers in New South Wales (NSW).
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Adrian Corbould

Adrian Corbould is a Law Society Accredited Specialist in Wills & Estates Law. For more than 15 years he has helped hundreds of clients in contested estate matters. His tenacity and experience make him one of the most sought after Will Contest Lawyers in New South Wales (NSW).

Adrian is an Accredited Specialist within the Contested Wills & Estates Team. In certain circumstances, the team operates on a 'No Win, No Fee' basis. If you'd like to discuss your circumstances with a member of the team, call us and ask for a Free Appraisal.

 

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