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Four children each awarded $1.25m of dead dad's lotto winnings

January 7, 2020 4:11 pm

Four children have been awarded $1.25 million each after going to court to claim some of their estranged dad’s Lotto win.

In 2009, David Wayde Carson won $16.7m with a winning ticket and told only one other person.

When he died in 2015 he made no provision in his will for his children or six grandchildren, who didn’t learn of his death for about two and a half years.

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The Nelson man wanted his money to be used for cattle research and development and refused to provide his lawyers with any details about his children – other than to say they were not interested in contact and “had been paid out many years prior”.

But Carson had named them as discretionary beneficiaries under a trust that inherits the residue of his estate.

So, last month, Carson’s adult children Toni Twomey, Keri Crossan, Wayde Carson and Melanie Brown took a case to the High Court at Nelson.

Now all living in Australia, they argued for 20 per cent of their father’s estate, which included property, farm equipment and $300,000 worth of shares and current account funds in a brewery.

Carson’s grandchildren also wanted $200,000 when they turned 20 years old to “assist them in making a start in life”.

In her judgment, released last month, Justice Susan Thomas said: “All the children spoke of a relatively happy early childhood … In saying that, the older children had some not so fond memories of Mr Carson’s behaviour, which, in hindsight, they attribute to his use of alcohol.

“Following their parents’ separation, they and their mother moved into a state housing area in Aranui, Christchurch. Their impression was that their financial situation had dramatically declined, which they attribute to the loss of their father’s income.”

The judge said, apart from when they were young, Carson’s children received no financial support from their father during their lifetime.

“None of the children is now in a particularly healthy financial position and retirement is not too far away,”

Justice Thomas awarded each of Carson’s children $1.25m.

“That sum would be life-changing for the children but would not defeat Mr Carson’s wishes,” she said.

There was no award to the grandchildren.

“While a loving grandfather might well make some provision for his grandchildren in his will, that does not mean he fails in his moral duty towards them if he does not do so,” Justice Thomas said.

“With each of the Children receiving $1.25 million, their financial positions will be significantly improved and they can be expected to provide for their own children.”

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