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Inheritance FOMO: Fear of Missing Out

Succession Law News | July 2017

In the Victorian Supreme Court decision of Re Staughton; Grant v McMillan [2017] VSC 359 the court was required to examine the extent of the definition of the reference to “grandchildren”.

In this case Mr Staughton had a will and he died. His wife had a similarly worded will and she then died. Mr Staughton and his wife [“the deceased”] had two children, one of whom was adopted. That adopted child was the second defendant in these proceedings. The other (biological) child of the deceased had 4 children and 2 of these “grandchildren” of the deceased were the plaintiffs in bringing these proceedings.

The second defendant (the adopted child of the deceased) had 2 stepchildren. The plaintiff grandchildren of the deceased sought a determination from the Court of the question (pursuant to r54.02 Supreme Court (General Civil Procedure) Rules 2015 (Vic)) – “Who, upon the proper construction of cl.6 of the deceased's last will and cl.4 of Mr Staughton's last will, is within the meaning of the phrase ‘my grandchildren'?”.

The Court concluded that the second defendant's stepchildren were within the expression ‘my grandchildren' as well as the plaintiffs and their siblings. In forming this conclusion the Court examined the wording and context of the will and the instructions of the two deceased persons in making their wills.

Forum Law provides advice and assistance in all aspects of preparation of a will and disputing a will or upholding a will. Forum Laws’ solicitors are well qualified and have extensive experience in the law of wills, estates and succession law. Give us a call for an obligation free chat for up to 30 minutes on the phone or make a time to visit us in Leichhardt on 02 9560 3388.

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