Richie Benaud, was an Australian cricketer and Broadcaster who, became Australia’s Test captain and the first player to reach 200 wickets and 2,000 runs in Test cricket. He has been described as “perhaps the most influential cricketer and cricket personality since the Second World War.”
Benaud married Marcia Lavender in 1953, the marriage lasted 14 years and produced two sons, Gregory and Jeffery. In 1967 he divorced Marcia and married Daphne Surfleet who remained his wife until his death in April this year.
Benaud’s ex-wife Marcia and her son Gregory are contesting his Will in the NSW Supreme Court.
NSW law provides that a former spouse of the deceased may be eligible to apply for family provision without having to meet any further criteria of eligibility.
The law defines a dependant as including the child, and a former wife or husband of the deceased person, and gives the Court scope to assess if adequate provision for the proper maintenance, education or advancement in life of the person has not been made by the will of the deceased person.
It was reported that in Greg’s opinion, that the action was not a money grab but the will did not provide adequate provision for his mother Marcia, who hadn’t spoken to Benaud for 20 years and wasn’t invited to his funeral.
Factors relevant to a claim by a divorced wife include the culpability of the deceased in relation to the grounds of the divorce, the length of time from the separation of the spouse and the course which the lives of the two spouses have followed since separation.
Benaud wrote of his divorce from Marcia: “My wife and I had been separated for over two years and I was divorced for desertion”. Marcia and Gregory live together in a Department of Housing property in Erina, on the Central Coast.
Benaud’s estate includes pension funds in Australia as well as property trusts and managed investment funds and He and Daphne had property in Coogee and Beaulieu-sur-Mer in the south of France where they spent much of the year when Benaud worked in England.
The Court has ordered Daphne to produce a list of her assets, liabilities, income and expenditure and financial documents relating to Benaud’s superannuation.