Disabled children to get fair share of dad’s estate
TWO disabled siblings, who were left nothing in the will of their late father, a retired commercial airline pilot, will now receive $400,000 each from his two million dollar estate.
Bryan Pott, who died in 2008, aged 69, leaving an estate then worth $3.8 million, provided for his second wife, Cecilia Kit-Ying Pott and three children from his first marriage, in his will.
But he left nothing to his two children with a former de facto partner, both of whom have Autism Spectrum Disorder and have suffered from other health problems.
The siblings, 17 and 24 at the time of their father's death, live with their mother, now 71, they cannot work and will need ongoing care and support, the Supreme Court heard.
They had lived with their once "loving and caring'' father and mother in Hong Kong and northern NSW, but Mr Pott had no contact with them after 2000.
Mr Pott told his lawyers he left nothing to the siblings in his will because of doubts about their paternity and because he had provided some financial support for them.
They were not named as his children on his death certificate and the brother and sister had to get a paternity declaration to prove he was their father, after bringing a claim on the estate.
Justice Soraya Ryan said the siblings were "friendless and isolated'' and very dependent on each other and their mother.
"ASD makes the world a hostile place for them … they live a small life, mostly confined tor their home,'' Justice Ryan said.
The brother, 29, who also has been treated for Hodgkin's lymphoma, panics over social interaction, worries about everything he eats and sleeps a lot, the court heard.
His sister, now 35, has suffered from post traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, alcoholism and a painful gynaecological condition.
The siblings, who both find leaving the house stressful, receive disability support pensions.
Their claim for provision from the estate has taken 10 years to be heard, because of other legal cases that have cost the estate $1.1 million, the court heard.
Defending the claims by the siblings and the paternity declaration application cost the estate $346,567.
The estate is now worth $2.01 million, with the main asset being the $1.4 million matrimonial Cabana Boulevard, Benowa home left to executor of the will, Cecilia Pott.
Justice Ryan found Mr Pott failed to make adequate provision for the proper maintenance and support of two of his children and she ordered each receive $400,000.
It means they will get almost 40 per cent of the estate.
The judge said the siblings had a need for financial security and ought not be left at risk of having to fend for themselves in future.
The judge decided the Benowa home, in which Mrs Pott still lives, could be sold in order for the estate assets to be divided up, despite Mrs Pott's opposition.