Does estrangement preclude an estate challenge by Adult Children?
Many potential claimants are concerned that a period of estrangement may preclude an adult child from challenging a parent’s estate.
It should be noted that estrangement in and of itself is not determinative in extinguishing the moral obligation of a testator to provide for a child.
Pursuant to the New South Wales case of Wentworth it clear that the causes of estrangement need to be examined. Was the breakdown of the relationship a result of unreasonable conduct on the part of the parent or child?
The case of Penn v Richards restricts the Court’s assignment of moral blame for the breakdown of the relationship – ‘the estrangement does not need to be examined in terms of moral fault’. It is however important to note that where there is one-sided hostility responsibility may be assigned.