The recent decision of Valentini & Ors v Valentini  VSC 91 involved a claim by 3 estranged adult children of the deceased. The Court recognised the familial unhappiness, conflict and discord between the estranged children and their deceased father that remained unresolved at his death.
The deceased’s Will appointed his youngest son, who was not one of the 3 estranged children, as sole executor and devised the residuary estate solely to him.
The estate comprised primarily of the family home, land and farm property valued at $955,000 and bank accounts. The Court calculated that the net amount available for disbursal by the estate was $650,000 after taking into account costs.
The Court determined that the estrangement of the 3 children was a result of the deceased’s failure in his parental duty and not disentitling conduct for the purposes of a claim for provision.
Accordingly, the Court held that the deceased had a moral obligation to all of his children because they were persons for whom the deceased had responsibility to make provision.
The Court awarded the 3 adult children 25% of the estate each (approximately $162,000), leaving the deceased’s youngest son a 25% share of the net remaining assets of the estate.
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