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Making a Will – do you need to provide for your ex-partner?

You may think that your financial obligations to your ex-partner end following a family law property settlement. However, the recent case of Lodin v Lodin; Estate of Dr Mohammad Masoud Lodin [2017] NSWSC 10 has indicated otherwise.

In this case, the deceased’s ex-wife (Magdalena) brought a claim for further provision from her deceased ex-husband’s estate.

On the surface, it appeared that Magdalena was undeserving of further provision. She had lived with the deceased for only 18 months before they separated and divorced. In the family law property settlement, Magdalena was awarded $164,500 from a marital property pool worth approximately $430,000. Following the property settlement, Magdalena dedicated herself to trying to ruin the deceased’s life. For example, Magdalena would deny the deceased access to their daughter Rebecca and pursued various legal avenues to spite the deceased.

The deceased died 25 years after divorcing Magdalena. He died without a Will and the laws of intestacy dictated that his now $5 million estate be inherited entirely by his daughter, Rebecca. Rebecca and Magdalena had been estranged for some years so Magdalena brought a claim for further provision from the deceased’s estate.

The court held that Magdalena’s relationship breakdown with the deceased had an enduring impact on her and that Magdalena’s care and responsibility for Rebecca for 15 years following the relationship breakdown indirectly assisted in the deceased attaining such substantial wealth following their divorce. Ultimately, the court held that Magdalena should be given further provision from the deceased’s estate, particularly given the fact that Rebecca would still be left with ample following such provision. Magdalena was awarded $750,000 leaving Rebecca with in excess of $4,250,000.

For further information and assistance on any estate planning or estate administration matter, please contact a member of our experienced Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning team at Bell Legal Group on (07) 5597 3366 or email Tracey Carroll.