What is the legal meaning of issue, remoter issue and similar terms in wills? Does it mean children? Are all descendants entitled to inherit in the same way?
In a Queensland case a stepchild was left out of the will of a step-parent. He subsequently sought provision from his step-mother’s estate. She had no natural children of her own. Her husband, the applicant’s father, had pre-deceased her. The applicant was her only step-child. In another situation a claim was brought by seven step-children for adequate provision out of their deceased stepmother’s estate.
In succession law the court has discretionary power under family provision legislation to order provision from a deceased person’s estate to “eligible” applicants and in certain circumstances. It is not automatic.
The legal rules were introduced to remedy situations where willmakers failed to leave adequate provision for close family and certain other dependents as defined. It is not for second bites at the cherry. The court has wide power in deciding who pays costs of proceedings.
A family tree outlining close family/next of kin relationships is useful in preparing to make a will, and as a reference in situations of intestacy.
“The Romans were also wont to set aside testaments as being inofficiosa, deficient in natural duty, if they disinherited or totally passed by (without assigning a true and sufficient reason) any of the children of the testator.”