In a recent Supreme Court case, a grandchild challenged his grandfather’s Will. It was considered good law and is still considered good law, that a grandchild can challenge a Will if they have been left out and the estate has not provided for the grandchild’s “proper maintenance, education or advancement in life”.
In this recent case, the Court ruled that the facts of the particular case meant that such an order was inappropriate and therefore the application by the grandson against his grandfather’s Will was dismissed. The case involved a former private school boy who a Supreme Court judge described as having “an unhealthy sense of entitlement”. The Court went on to conclude that the grandson was not “sufficiently motivated to find work” and had an “unhealthy sense of entitlement which may have constrained his ambition” to achieve independent financial success.
The Court essentially concluded that the community’s standards and expectations did not require it to intervene in the Will to intervene and to give the grandson a greater sum of the estate than had been originally provided for by the grandfather. At the conclusion of the trial, after the grandson had failed, costs were ordered against him and it was a thoroughly unsuccessful application which justified the executor resisting the application of the grandson to vary the Will of the grandfather.
Therefore, although there is a perception that Wills can sometimes be easily challenged, there are situations where the Court will not intervene to assist an aggrieved beneficiary who thought that he or she should have received more or even should have been included in a Will when they were excluded.
It is always advisable to obtain very good legal advice when you feel that your Will is likely to be challenged after you have passed away. There are steps you can take to minimise that risk.