Lado Causillas v NSW Trustee and Guardian; Bentancor Lado v NSW Trustee and Guardian [2015] NSWSC 1204

SUCCESSION – family provision and maintenance – failure by testator to make sufficient provision for applicants – applicants are deceased’s wife and only adult son – both estranged from the deceased – no provision made in deceased’s estate for applicants – applicants ‘eligible persons’ – two-step approach in s 59 of the Succession Act 2006 (NSW) affirmed – what is “adequate”, “proper”, “provision”, “maintenance” and “advancement in life” pursuant to s 59(1)(c) of the Act – whether provision made by testator is “wise and just” and is right and appropriate assessed against community standards – court has discretionary power and is assisted by s 60 of the Act – effect of long term estrangement of both applicants – relevance of “bare widowhood” and “bare paternity” – each individual case must be assessed on its own unique circumstances

SUCCESSION – family provision and maintenance – principles upon which relief granted for wife – effect of the deceased remaining married to wife despite unilaterally abrogating duty to her and their son – applicant legally remains the deceased’s wife despite Uruguayan court order ending community of assets – deceased enjoyed financial benefit from not fulfilling his obligations to his wife – moral obligation cannot be escaped by repudiation or evasion – held inadequate provision made for wife by the deceased

SUCCESSION – family provision and maintenance – principles upon which relief granted for son – deceased’s performance of moral paternal obligations to his son was the antithesis of community expectations – extremity of circumstances in present case – adult son’s conduct in not attempting to re-establish relationship with the deceased does not disentitle him to provision – held inadequate provision made for son by the deceased

Dr Chris Ward appeared for the successful plaintiff