Estranged Children & Wills

16 June 2017

Estrangement – Who Can Make A Claim? and How to Protect Your Assets

It’s an unfortunate fact for some families that estrangement can occur between parents and children.

While this situation on a day-to-day basis is difficult enough, it can become even more complicated when it comes to Wills, Estate Planning and Administration.

It’s not terribly uncommon for a parent to disinherit an estranged child, but this is a decision not to be taken lightly and requires expert legal advice to best protect your assets. 

On the other hand an estranged child may wish to make a family provision claim against an estate.

In Queensland, an estranged child can make an application for further provision from their parent’s estate..

Complications though often occur when the circumstances of estrangement are not clear cut. 


What does a Court consider when it comes to estrangement? 

The Court considers many factors when determining a family provision application involving estrangement claims.

Generally the Court will take estrangement into account when considering a claim, if it determines the estrangement has been caused mostly by the applicant, and no reconciliation occurred prior to the parent’s death.

The Court will also consider other factors such as whether the deceased updated their Will to disinherit a child, and what communication has or hasn’t occurred between the deceased and their child prior to death.

If estrangement on the applicant’s behalf is considered a contributing factor, it can result in none or only partial provision of an estate being granted.

In a situation where the Court determines that the deceased caused the estrangement and reconciliation wasn’t possible, it is more likely that estrangement may not be considered a contributing factor in the claim. This is also the case if the Court finds reconciliation was made prior to death.


How can you protect your estate from claims by an estranged child?

While you can’t prevent your estranged child from making a claim on your estate, you can, with expert legal advice, take certain steps to better protect your estate from a successful claim. 

Your Wills and Estate Lawyer may recommend making a statutory declaration explaining the estrangement, as well as making other provisions within your Will.


What next?

If you wish to disinherit a child, make a claim on an estate, or defend a claim on an estate, you should speak to qualified Wills and Estate professional such as Gill & Lane Solicitors for expert advice.