Freddy leaves surprise

Farmer Freddy

Pebbles is sitting down in front of the TV catching up on the Rugby World Cup.  It has been a welcome distraction from the last few weeks.  Suddenly her phone rings.  It is Freddy’s next door neighbour, Joe.

“Hi Joe”, said Pebbles.  “How can I help you?”, Pebbles asks. 

“Well, Pebbles”, said Joe, “do you remember when we were talking about the beneficiaries of Freddy’s Will, and you mentioned someone called Frank?”, said Joe.

“Yes, Joe, I still haven’t got to the bottom of who this Frank is”, said Pebbles.

“Well, Pebbles, I have just had a call out of the blue from Frank.  He says he is your step-brother, he is living overseas now but he wants to return to talk about Freddy’s Will.  I think I had better come over”, said Joe.

“Yes I think you had better”, said Pebbles, somewhat taken aback. 

Joe comes across the fence and meets Pebbles in the kitchen.  Over a cup of tea and some biscuits, Joe explains how Frank is claiming to be Pebble’s step-brother, and how prior to Pebbles’ birth Freddy had had an earlier son, Frank, who had gone overseas to live with his mother.

He knows he is entitled to something under the Will, but he is considering making a claim for a bigger amount, because he feels that his interests have not been adequately provided for. 

“Pebbles”, asks Joe, “how can he claim for more than what he is entitled to under Freddy’s Will?  Surely Freddy’s Will cannot be undone?”.

“Unfortunately Freddy’s Will is not immune from claims against the Estate.  For example, certain family members can make a claim under the Family Protection Act 1955.” 

“Who is entitled to make a claim under the Family Protection Act?”, asks Joe.

“Well Joe, partners (whether married or in a civil union) and de facto partners (but only if they have the ability to make a claim under the Property (Relationships) Act 1976) can make a claim.  Children are also entitled to make a claim and there are other classes of people that may also bring a claim.” 

“If Frank is Freddy’s son, then he would be entitled to bring a claim.”

“What would the claims be based on?”, asked Joe.

“To successfully challenge Freddy’s Will, Frank will need to show that Freddy has breached a moral duty to make adequate provision under the Will”, explained Pebbles. 

“Pebbles, what will happen next?”, asked Joe.

“Well, that will be up to Frank.  We need to focus on getting Probate for Freddy’s Will.  If Frank wants to make a claim against Freddy’s Estate he generally has 12 months from the date of Grant of Probate to do so.”  I knew Freddy would leave us a surprise.  Hopefully there won’t be too many surprises with the Rugby World Cup”, Pebbles said.

The content of this document is necessarily general and readers should seek specific advice on particular matters and not rely solely on this document. 

If you would like more information on any of the topics in this document, please contact your usual Auld Brewer Mazengarb & McEwen adviser. 

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Philip McCarthy