Greek brothers lose court case after suing parents over Strathfield property

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Two Greek brothers from Sydney have sued their parents over the rights to a grand 1906 Federation home in Strathfield which previously belonged to former Australian Prime Minister, Francis Michael (Frank) Forde.

According to court documents, the property was first bought in 1986 by the Greek couple for $300,000 but due to renovations, “there was uncontradicted evidence that the Property now has a market value of $5.5 million.”

The brothers claimed their parents told them they would each have a 40 percent interest in the property in return for their direct contributions to property renovations between 1988 – 1990 and 2001 to 2008.

Their parents denied this claim and made the case “that everyone in the family helped as they were able with the renovations (supporting the various tradespeople involved) as family members, for the benefit of the family as a whole, so that they would have a beautiful home in which to live.”

Currently, the Court stated, the brothers will receive nothing from their parent’s will “although there is some benefit to their children.” Their younger brother is the principal beneficiary of the will but was not a party to the court proceedings.

In September this year, Supreme Court of NSW Judge, Justice François Kunc, dismissed the brothers’ claim. The court found that the brothers “contributed substantially in time, effort and funds (much of which appears to have been reimbursed to them) to the renovation.”

But they did this “not on the faith of a promise of a share of the Property” but for two other reasons:

(1) “they were receiving a significant commercial benefit (with no corresponding benefit to their parents) of using the Property as security for their business ventures”; and

(2) “they had their own expectation that after their parents had enjoyed the benefit of the Property… [they], as sons, would receive a “fair” share of their parents’ estate.”

The brothers have now been order to pay their parents’ costs for the legal battle.

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