With the aging population, it is more common to assist clients in their 80’s or 90’s with a new Will.  It is not uncommon to receive instructions from older clients to skip their children as beneficiaries and make the grandchildren beneficiaries instead.

Recently, the NSW Supreme Court considered a “generation skipping” Will. The two daughters that were “skipped” weren’t happy about it and contested their mother’s Will.

The NSW case did not have the ‘usual’ reason for generation skipping (i.e. ‘my kids are retired now and don’t need it’).  The daughters in the NSW case were not close to retirement age, 4 of the 5 grandchildren were under 18 years and there were some relationship issues between the deceased and the daughters.

The Court referred to the “social norm” that parents – not grandparents – are primarily responsible for educating and maintaining their children.  In this case, the daughters were successful in receiving further provision from their mother’s estate.

Perhaps, the decision would have been different if the daughters were at, or close to, retirement age.

Whether “generation skipping” in estate planning is becoming a trend remains to be seen.

What is certain, is that each person’s estate plan is unique and requires careful consideration of all relevant circumstances.