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Successful claim for provision by adult son in small estate

Lizia Lim

Gabriele v Gabriele [2015] VSC 115

In the recent case of Gabriele v Gabriele [2015] VSC 115, the deceased died leaving two sons, the Plaintiff and the Defendant. Her estate consisted only of a half share in a property which was co-owned with the Defendant, valued at $250,000. In her Will, the deceased left her entire estate to the Defendant.

The Defendant had made substantial financial contributions to the acquisition of the property, and cared for the deceased for many years while she was ill.

The Plaintiff was in extremely necessitous financial circumstances, with no significant assets, living on a Centrelink allowance and suffering from depression. The fact that the Plaintiff had squandered a significant amount of money was not found to be a factor against him, as it did not negate his need for support. The Plaintiff had contributed very little to the deceased, but there was insufficient evidence to prove disentitling conduct.

The Plaintiff was awarded provision in the form of a legacy of $70,000. Due to the Plaintiff’s history of squandering money, the sum was ordered to be paid to the Senior Master to be held on trust for the Plaintiff.