Wealthy Australian family is locked in a bitter legal dispute over a multibillion-dollar estate – Daughter claims she’s been cut out of father’s will because she was artificially inseminated
Samantha Jane Smorgon is suing her famous and wealthy Melbourne family – The Smorgons are one of Australia’s wealthiest families
The 44-year-old Samantha Smorgon has requested access to 18 trust accounts managed by brother, Stephen Smorgon
She also sued Vicki Smorgon, over a lack of support from late father Robert’s will
Smorgon family are among richest in the country, worth estimated $2.7billion
Samantha Smorgon was conceived by artificial insemination as was her brother, she alleges
She believes circumstances of her birth is why she was denied access to the trusts after the death of her father Robert Smorgon in 2019
Australian heiress, Samantha Jane Smorgon, is suing her famous and wealthy Melbourne family for a stake in the estate after the death of the patriarch, Robert Smorgon, in 2019.
The lawsuit focuses on the trusts which are held by her brother Stephen Smorgon and other relatives. It includes delicate information about the size and scope of the families’ assets.
Samantha Smorgon, 44, was conceived by artificial insemination and believes that is why she was denied access to the benefits of the trusts after her dad Robert Smorgon’s death in 2019.
Other members of the family however are against Samantha gaining access to the financial records.
The accounts contain balance sheets, bank statements, tax information and management details about the Smorgon’s business interests.
Robert Smorgon in his will claimed he had no biological children and instead referred to Samantha as his ‘stepchild’.
However, Samantha Smorgon claims this is incorrect as Robert Smorgon was listed as her father on her birth certificate, and she his daughter on his death certificate.
‘Throughout my childhood, I was brought up believing that I was a child of my father,’ Samantha Smorgon said in an affidavit.
The complainant is also suing Vicki Smorgon, over a lack of support from late father Robert’s will.
In her affidavit, Samantha claims her father – who “controlled substantial wealth and whose family controlled substantial wealth” – excluded her from benefiting from his estate, unless his widow Vicki Smorgon died before him.
Vicki Smorgon is the executor of Robert Smorgon’s estate and is a joint proprietor in three of his four properties, according to his daughter’s affidavit.
The document states the inventory supporting his will showed he owned assets amounting to $851,000 with liabilities of $141,000 at the time of his death.
She claims to have never received information about the assets held in any of the trusts and, to her knowledge, has never received any income or capital distribution from them.
Samantha Smorgon said she only found out she wasn’t her father’s biological daughter until her teenage years and was told her brother Stephen was conceived the same way.
‘Indeed my father treated me as if he was my natural father and I his child,’ she said.
Samantha Smorgon works in health care and said she has never received any income from the trusts, but claims to be a general beneficiary for 15 of the accounts.
The Smorgon family business ESCOR Group, represented by CFO, Michael Meehan, has declined granting Samantha Smorgon access to the confidential details.
‘The business activities of the active trusts include, but are not limited to, investments in equity managed funds, private equity, private equity funds, property and property development and property managed funds,’ he wrote in an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court.
Samantha has also pursued a legal case against Vicki Smorgon, who is the executor of her father’s estate, over a lack of support from his will.
The Smorgon family topped the BRW Rich Families in Australia list for seven years in a row up to 2015, with a fortune of more than $2.7 billion, amassed from interests in property, meat, paper, chemicals, plastics, electronics and steel.
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