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    Can a former partner make an Estate claim?

    7/06/19 3:42 PM

    It is possible for a former partner to make a claim on your Estate, if there are factors that warrant that claim. The case of Lodin v Lodin; Estate of Dr Mohammad Masoud Lodin [2017] NSWSC 10 demonstrates what can happen when a former partner makes an Estate claim.

    The story goes:

    • Dr Lodin and Mrs Lodin were in a relationship for a total of six years, and married for 19 months
    • They had one daughter together
    • The marriage ended 25 years before this claim
    • They had a property settlement arranged through the Family Courts 23 years before Dr Lodin’s death
    • After their divorce, Mrs Lodin harassed Dr Lodin and promoted professional misconduct charges against Dr Lodin
    • Dr Lodin died without a will
    • His Estate was worth approximately $5 million and was passed to his daughter
    • Mrs Lodin was living in impoverished circumstances and was continuing to suffer the effects of the relationship
    • Mrs Lodin argued that Dr Lodin needed to atone for his conduct towards Mrs Lodin by payment of $1 million from the Estate

    Although that argument was rejected in court, the Judge said that there was “something unbecoming about a former spouse who is living in impoverished circumstances and still suffering the effects of the relationship, when the estate was large, and the only beneficiary was the child of Mrs Lodin.” The court at first instance found favour of Mrs Lodin, concluding that there were factors that warranted a claim on the Estate, a payment of $750,000 plus costs.

    The daughter then appealed that decision. The appeal found that Mrs Lodin should not have a claim on the Estate because:

    • The relationship only lasted six years, and the marriage lasted only 19 months
    • The relationship ended 25 years ago
    • Their financial affairs had been resolved during their property settlement in the Family Courts
    • Her poor financial position had been a result of her own bad decisions

    This case shows that to have a successful claim on a former partner’s Estate there must be factors to warrant the claim, such as a failure to comply with property settlement orders, payment of a child or spousal maintencen or failure to make a property settlement.

    If you have further questions about Estate planning, contact Andrew Frank at afrank@franklaw.com.au.

    This is not legal advice.

    Andrew Frank

    Written by Andrew Frank