A Court in Australia has ruled that the secret daughter of a mining magnate is entitled to a share of her deceased father’s estate. She received the sum of £12.7 million from the estate after claiming that she needed the money for a diamond encrusted bass guitar, five pairs of $5,000 shoes each year for life and $10,000 a year for handbags and fashion accessories for life. These are only some of the requests made to the Court.
The Deceased was the son of iron ore magnate who owned the Voyager Estate Winery and died in 2012 with an estimated family fortune of $2.7 billion.
The daughter’s claim was brought on the basis that she had been left without adequate support for her education or advancement in life. Despite the fact that some of her claims were far fetched, the Judge in the Western Australia Supreme Court agreed that she should receive a share of the estate on the basis that the Deceased had a vast fortune and he was in the fortunate position of being able to provide for all of the parties who had a claim on his bounty.
By way of brief background, the daughter was born following an affair that the Deceased had with a woman in Perth. He already had three other children. The Deceased had supported her throughout his life and ensured that she had sufficient money.
The case illustrates the fact that these types of disputes will be seen more and more and from an estate planning point of view, family structures can be complex and careful consideration should be given at the Will drafting stage. We see numerous cases in which people have not been left what they feel entitled to in a loved one’s Will. Please do contact either Helen Freely or Rachel Jones in Druces LLP’s Contentious Probate team to seek guidance on Wills and inheritance issues.