Court considers inheritance
In a recent case the court had to decide what weight to give to a husband in a property settlement for an inheritance he had received from his mother’s estate.
- Both husband and wife were 64 years of age at the time of the trial and they had been married for 38 years. They had 2 children aged 38 and 36 years.
- The court valued the property pool at $5.3 million.
- Four years prior to the date of separation the husband’s mother died providing the husband with an inheritance of $332,000.
- The husband argued that the inheritance be recognised on a “dollar for dollar basis”, (i.e. in relation to its value to the property pool), therefore representing a 6% weighting in his favour.
- Seven years before the date of separation the wife was injured at work and received a lump sum payment of $27,000.
- The contribution of the inheritance must be assessed having regard to the contributions of the parties over 38 years of marriage and hard work. There will be an adjustment in the husband’s favour for the inheritance of 3%.
- The husband had failed to disclose assets in Europe and once having been identified, the court was unable to determine the real value of those assets other than estimates.
- The court therefore determined to make a (notional) adjustment in favour of the wife of 3.5%.
- The wife receive 50.5% and the husband receive 49.5% of the property pool.
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