Challenging an Estate - The Case of Bob Hawke

26 SEP 2019


The life of Australia’s third longest serving Prime Minister, Bob Hawke told an interesting story. As it would appear, the story may continue beyond his death, with his youngest daughter, Rosslyn Dillon reportedly seeking legal advice in relation to challenging Hawke’s Estate.

On his death, Hawke’s second wife, Blanche d’Alpuget is said to have gifted the sum of $750,000.00 to each of his three children and Hawke’s step-son (including Dillon). Under Hawke’s Will, the whole of his Estate, including the proceeds of Hawke’s $15 million Northbridge home, is set to pass to d’Alpuget, with no provision made for Hawke’s children.

It is reported that Dillon is considering challenging Hawke’s Estate on the basis that adequate provision has not been made for her under Hawke’s Will.

To be eligible to challenge an Estate, you must satisfy one of the following categories:

(a)  a spouse of the deceased.

(b)  a defacto partner at the time of the person’s death.

(c)  a child of the deceased.

(d)  a former spouse of the deceased.

(e)  a person:

      (i) who was, at any particular time, wholly or partly dependent on the deceased, and

      (ii) who is a grandchild of the deceased or was, at that particular time or at any other time, a member of the deceased person’s household.

(f)  a person the deceased was living in a close personal relationship at the time of their death.

As Hawke’s child, Dillon is eligible to challenge Hawke’s Estate by way of a Family Provision claim.

If a person is an eligible person (and therefore able to challenge an Estate), they must then prove that adequate provision for their proper maintenance, education or advancement has not been made by the deceased’s Estate. This is based primarily on the person’s financial situation and whether they need provision from the Estate for their maintenance, education and advancement.

Other factors the Court may consider in deciding the success of a claim include: the type of relationship shared (including the strength and duration), the conduct and character of the applicant (both towards the deceased and otherwise), the applicant’s contribution to improving any property of the Estate, the future earning potential of the applicant and the extent to which the deceased was maintaining the person at the time of their death.

While Hawke’s case makes headlines, his case is common, particularly where blended families are involved. If you have any questions in relation to protecting your Estate from a potential challenge or your options in relation to challenging an Estate, please contact our Estate Planning Partner, Krystle Wolthers on (02) 4626 5077 or via email at:

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POSTED: 16 Jan 2024
The Estate Planning team here at Marsdens as well as the entire firm would like to congratulate the Partner in charge of the department, Krystle Wolthers, for achieving the fantastic accolade of Accredited Specialist in Wills & Estates Law in 2023!
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