"
skip to Main Content

02 4050 0330

    • Medical Negligence
    • Women’s Health
          • Women’s Health

            We know that there is disparity in women’s health care, treatment, and support. We are committed to improving the lives of women and strongly advocating for their wellbeing.  That is why we take a stand and hold medical professionals accountable when medical care falls short of expected standards by delivering the best outcome in medical negligence claims affecting women.

            Read More

    • Hospital Negligence
          • Hospital Negligence

            We understand you may feel let down because you have experienced inadequate or negligent care and treatment in a hospital or medical facility. Your wellbeing is most important to us and we are committed to supporting you with compassion and holding medical professionals accountable for breach of duty and negligent care.

            Read More

    • Clinical Support
          • Clinical Support

            Experiencing poor or adverse outcomes from allied health treatment can be distressing and life changing. We are here to support you through your claim and it is our aim to hold allied health professionals accountable for their breach of care by delivering the outcome you deserve to your negligence claims.

            Read More

    • I need help
          • Not Sure where to start?

            Hello, I’m Jade. I’m here to help you with a quick call that will help us better understand your legal concerns. This way, I can connect you with the lawyer who is best suited to assist you with your situation.

            Your well-being is important to us, and we’re here to support you every step of the way.

            Call me on 02 4050 0330 or email admin@conradcurrylaw.com.au

    • Personal Injury
          • Personal Injury

            If you have been injured because of someone else’s negligence, our specialist team of Personal Injury Lawyers is here to support you with compassion and understanding providing you with the right advice. Our team has substantial experience and expertise in these matters to deliver the outcomes you deserve from your claim.

            Read More

    • Work Injury
    • Motor Vehicle Accidents
          • Motor Vehicle Accidents

            We are here to support you and give you the clarity, guidance and the right legal advice if you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident. Our compassionate team of professionals in Personal Injury law have the technical expertise and a wealth of experience to win you the compensation you deserve.

            Read More

    • Public Liability
          • Public Liability

            Our specialist team in Personal Injury law is here to support you in accessing proper compensation if you have been injured because of someone else’s negligence. We have cutting edge expertise and experience in public liability claims to deliver the outcome you deserve.

            Read More

    • Abuse
          • Institutional Abuse

            We strongly believe that educational institutions must be held accountable when failing to protect children while in their care. If you have experienced institutional physical or sexual abuse, our specialist team in Personal Injury law is here to support you with compassion and offer our technical expertise and experience to deliver the best outcome in your case.

            Read More

    • Workers Compensation
          • Workers Compensation

            When you sustain an injury or illness because of work, you may be entitled to  compensation. Our specialist team in Personal Injury Law is here to support you with compassion and understanding with the right advice. We have substantial technical expertise to deliver the best possible outcome from your claim.

            Read More

    • School Negligence
    • I Need Help
          • Not Sure where to start?

            Hello, I’m Jade. I’m here to help you with a quick call that will help us better understand your legal concerns. This way, I can connect you with the lawyer who is best suited to assist you with your situation.

            Your well-being is important to us, and we’re here to support you every step of the way.

            Call me on 02 4050 0330 or email admin@conradcurrylaw.com.au

    • Wills & Estate Planning
          • Wills and Estates

            When we provide advice on estate planning, we believe  in giving advice on options to mitigate the risks of litigation by potentially unhappy family members and protecting your assets from claims. Our legal team is here to support you and address your concerns regarding your estate planning. We have immense experience in these matters, providing you with advice and representation for your unique situation and delivering the best outcomes for your case.

            Read More

    • Powers of Attorney
    • Contest A Will
          • Contest A Will

            We have immense experience and specialised knowledge in family provision and wills disputes Where you have not been properly and adequately provided for under a will or where you suspect that the person making the will may not have had capacity or exercised their own free will, you need a lawyer with extensive experience and expertise. Our team of Lawyers will  provide you with advice and representation for your unique situation and deliver the best outcomes for your case.

            Read More

    • Probate & Deceased Estates
    • Enduring Guardian
    • Family Provision
    • I Need Help
          • Not Sure where to start?

            Hello, I’m Jade. I’m here to help you with a quick call that will help us better understand your legal concerns. This way, I can connect you with the lawyer who is best suited to assist you with your situation.

            Your well-being is important to us, and we’re here to support you every step of the way.

            Call me on 02 4050 0330 or email admin@conradcurrylaw.com.au

    • Other Services Overview
          • Conrad Curry Can assist you with a variety of services

            Our solicitors are highly experienced in providing you with expert legal advice and will keep you informed every step of the way. It’s good to know that our firm is trusted and effective with a high success rate.

            Read More

    • Professional Negligence
          • Professional Negligence

            We rely on professionals in all aspects of our lives to provide us with proper advice on which to make decisions about our financial and legal affairs. When you are let down by poor advice the results can be devastating.  We are here to support you in your claim for compensation with clarity, guidance and the right advice to achieve the outcome you deserve.

            Read More

    • Malicious Prosecution
          • Malicious Prosecution

            We believe in standing up for those people who are falsely accused and prosecuted. Our experienced legal team is here to support you with compassion and provide you with clarity, guidance, and the right advice in your claim for compensation.

            Read More

    • General Litigation
    • I Need Help
          • Not Sure where to start?

            Hello, I’m Jade. I’m here to help you with a quick call that will help us better understand your legal concerns. This way, I can connect you with the lawyer who is best suited to assist you with your situation.

            Your well-being is important to us, and we’re here to support you every step of the way.

            Call me on 02 4050 0330 or email admin@conradcurrylaw.com.au

    • What to Expect
          • What to expect

            We are your law firm for life. You can count on us for the best legal advice and compassionate support. We understand the challenges you are facing and we want you to know that you don’t have to navigate the often daunting process alone. We are here when you need us. Let us help you find your way forward with our empathetic and efficient approach. Contact us. You can call us on (02) 4050 0330 for a free initial no-obligation consultation or book an appointment online for an in-person consultation or an online video appointment.

  • No Win/No Fee Options

Case note: Steintmetz v Shannon [2019] NSWCA 114 – whether an annuity is adequate provision

The New South Wales Court of Appeal recently handed down the interesting family provisions decision of Steinmetz v Shannon [2019] NSWCA 114. The principal issue on appeal was whether the annuity given by the deceased to his widow (‘the Appellant’) under his will was adequate provision for the appellant’s proper maintenance and advancement in life.

Introduction

Under section 59 of the Succession Act 2006 (NSW), the court has the power to interfere with the provision made under the will concerned if provision for an eligible applicant (eg spouse, former spouse, de-facto, child or dependent) is inadequate for his/her proper maintenance, education or advancement in life.

Facts of the Case

Geoffrey Steinmetz had two adult children of his first marriage. He married his second wife Gayle Steinmetz in late 2011, having been in a de facto relationship with her since 1988. The couple remained financially independent during their marriage, with their assets largely kept separate, although Geoffrey did pay for their mutual entertainment, holiday and household expenses. Gayle had also provided him with full-time care over a period of 15 years, during which Geoffrey had suffered much ill health.

On 19 September 2016 Geoffrey made his last Will in hospital, when he was about to undergo a life-threatening operation. His  son-in-law, who was a solicitor, drafted the will on his instructions. Under this Will, the children of Geoffrey’s first marriage were appointed as the executors and trustees.

Geoffrey later passed away, leaving behind an estate valued at approximately $6.8 million.

In his Will Geoffrey left his wife all of his personal items and the contents of his house in Crescent Head. Subject to this specific gift and a pecuniary legacy to his godson, Geoffrey left his two children the residue of his estate. This gift was made conditional upon an annuity to his wife Gayle of $52,000 per annum (by way of quarterly payments) for the remainder of her lifetime (the ‘Annuity’). The trial judge observed that the Annuity had a present value of $880,000.

An earlier Will had been executed by Geoffrey in 2013, where more generous provision was made for his wife.

Following the death of Geoffrey, the widow Gayle made an application for orders for family provision under section 59 of the Succession Act 2006 claiming that the Will did not make adequate provision for her. At the time of the hearing, the widow valued her independent assets at approximately $700,000. She had some significant assets in addition to her residential property, including a superannuation fund, funds in bank deposits and shares of a relatively small value. She was, however, living frugally.

Decision at First Instance

At first instance trial judge Pembroke J dismissed the widow’s application, ruling that the Annuity provided adequate provision for her proper maintenance. In reaching this conclusion, Pembroke J noted the Annuity would enable the widow to continue to live in her home with an expected annual surplus of approximately $34,000.

Decision on Appeal

The main issue on appeal was whether the Annuity adequately provided for the widow’s proper maintenance and advancement in life. All three judges set aside the primary judge’s order, noting adequate provision had not been made for the widow.

In making this decision, the majority held that Geoffrey’s moral obligation to his wife should take preference over what the community would expect him to do (ie community standards). Moreover, s 59 of the Succession Act 2006 should be applied according to its terms, and not confined by notions of reluctance to interfere with testamentary freedom.

The Court held the widow was capable of managing her own affairs. This was a significant finding, as this meant it was not appropriate for the widow to be reliant on quarterly payments to be made by Geoffrey’s children for the remainder of her life. In this regard, it was relevant that there had ‘historically been tensions’ between the widow and at least one of Geoffrey’s children. Brereton JA acknowledged that the Annuity would unduly oblige the widow to have an ongoing relationship with Geoffrey’s children.

It was necessary for the Court to consider the particular circumstances of the case, including ‘the size of the estate, any competing claims, the applicant’s conduct and the applicant’s relationship with the deceased’. Therefore, regard was to be had to factors such as the care the widow had provided Geoffrey over many years, the considerable size of the estate which was ample to meet all competing claims, and the desire on behalf of the widow to relocate to Port Macquarie for medical treatment (as she suffered from significant health issues).

Brereton JA and Simpson AJA ordered the provision of a $1,750,000 legacy to the widow from Geoffrey’s estate, in lieu of the Annuity provided for under the Will. Although, White J believed a provision order in the amount of $1,500,000 would have been more appropriate.

All three judges agreed that annuity payments made up until the appeal should be regarded as interim maintenance. Therefore, such payments were not required to be repaid or brought to account.

Conclusion

This case demonstrates that an annuity provided under a will, to be paid by children of a first marriage, may not be adequate provision for the proper maintenance and advancement of a widow.

If you have been left out of a Will or inadequately provided for, call us today to speak to our friendly team.

Recent Articles

Stay Updated With Legal News
Subscribe To Our Newsletter

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.