Testamentary freedom in Australian law

It is worth noting what was said in a judgment from a recent case before the Supreme Court of New South Wales about adult children contesting their mother’s will for more.  The Court said the following:

“…a testator is entitled to be unequal in the treatment of her children. Fairness and equality are not

required by the law. Within the limits of the law, testators may dispose of their estates as they see fit. Adult children have no automatic right to share in the estate of a parent. Nor do they have an automatic right to equality between them. That may be the system in European countries, including possibly in the Balkans, but it is not the law in Australia. As I have observed on several occasions, subject to the family provision sections of the Succession Act, freedom of testamentary disposition remains an integral part of our law:….”

And following on he added:

“Related to that point is a principle, …..that the courts naturally respect and give deference to the considered judgments of apparently rational and sensible testators.”1

The Hon. Justice Pembroke, Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales.


B Stead
BHS Legal
21 June 2018

1.Kraljevic v Kraljevic [2017] NSWSC 225

Important notice: This article is intended for general interest and information only. It is not legal advice, nor should it be used as a substitute for legal advice. Always consult a legal practitioner and/or other professional for specialist advice specific to your needs and circumstances, and rely on that.

© BHS Legal

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