New Power of Attorney & Advance Health Directive forms released (QLD)

The wait is now officially over with the new Queensland Powers of Attorney and Advamce Health Directive documents now being released. E documents are approved for use from 30 November 2020. These documents coincide with the legislative changes I wrote about regarding attorneys and guardians last year. This is the first update to these well…

Read More

Pandemic or Prejudice: FPA hearing vacated amid COVID-19 (ACT)

I sincerely hope this reaches my readers, followers, and passers-by in a situation where they are safe and well during this tumultuous time in the world! For those in litigation, your practice is changing daily as we wait (and wait) for certainty (if it is ever arrives!); and those hearings aren’t going anywhere.. or are…

Read More

No Undue Influence + Mutual Wills: Appeal dismissed in Birch v Birch case (Qld)

I have been eagerly awaiting delivery of the appeal decision in Birch v Birch [2018] QSC 289. The case of Birch v Birch involved a situation where a mother had transferred her interest in a farming property to one of her sons, who also happened to be the mother’s duly appointed power of attorney. Whilst…

Read More

Decision Impossible: FPA by disabled son against widow, forcing sale of family home in notional estate (NSW)

Recently, the NSW Supreme Court determined a very difficult family provision application by an adult son, in circumstances where the adult son was otherwise healthy when the deceased passed away, but subsequently suffered significant health issues following his father’s death. Further, the only available assets for such a family provision claim were via notional estate.…

Read More

Screen Test: Court of Appeal prefers lawyer’s evidence over medical on testamentary capacity (NSW)

Capacity is quite the minefield.  Any practitioner that works within this field, may very well agree with me.  I would even hazard a guess and go as far as to say that perhaps even medical practitioners may also share the same view. Recently, in the case of Drivas v Jakopovic [2019] NSWCA 218, the New…

Read More

Catch and Release: Court considers when s33Z applies to a ‘purported’ Will (Qld)

Recently, the case of Saltmer v Rennick Lawyers Pty Ltd [2018] QSC 307 was heard in the Supreme Court of Queensland in Townsville where the Court was called upon to question of costs in a situation where a deceased person’s family member requested a copy of a document held by a Solicitor that the family…

Read More

Renewable Power: Court permits Attorney to renew superannuation nomination (QLD)

For a while now, it’s been a hazy question asked by succession lawyers alike about whether an attorney can make or renew a binding death benefit nomination for their principal’s superannuation policy proceeds. On 24 August 2018, Justice Bowskill of the Supreme Court of Queensland delivered a decision on this very topic. The case of…

Read More

Missing element: High Court orders new trial in solemn form probate proceedings; denial of procedural fairness

It appears to be raining estate and trust law cases from the High Court of Australia over the last two weeks. Yesterday, the High Court of Australia ordered a new trial be held in relation to solemn form probate proceedings in Nobarani v Mariconte [2018] HCA 36 on the basis that the appellant as denied…

Read More

“Divorced from reality”: Appeal allowed in former spouse FPA claim (NSW)

Earlier this year, I was surprised to read a judgement where a former spouse successfully claimed for further provision from her former husband’s estate notwithstanding the pair had completed a property settlement 25 years prior. You can read my earlier post here. It may come as no surprise that the matter was appealed to the…

Read More

Selfless surrender: defacto partner applies for Statutory Will to benefit mother and sisters (NSW)

  Sadly, it’s not often I read of a case where the applicant/plaintiff’s endeavours lack self-interest. Given the nature of estate litigation, generally in a good portion of the cases, self-interest takes a front seat.  Of course, that doesn’t mean to say that it is greed or something sinister that drives a person to take…

Read More

The Unsent Text Message Will: Is it really that simple? No – it’s really not! (QLD)

It’s likely been in your news feed recently that an unsent text message was held by a Queensland Court to be a valid Will.  It may seem quite unbelievable to some that this would even happen! On the other hand, maybe it doesn’t? Reviewing the comments that appear in many of the media articles online…

Read More

“Child Support”: Effect on earning capacity and meaning of “Support” in an FPA (Qld)

Imagine if you had a child with your partner and the relationship failed, resulting in your separation and shared parenting relationship.  Then, your former partner passes away. How much did you depend on your former partner for support or help? “Support” or “help” can be pretty subjective words when it’s this kind of scenario.  You…

Read More

Important Amendments to Qld Succession Laws: a sign of the times

We live in a different age.  We live in a world where blended families are a common fixture within our communities.  I, personally, know many beautiful blended families and I’m sure many of my readers do also.  In fact, I’m sure there are some of my readers that may know blended families that are closer…

Read More

Blood thicker than water: novel intestacy case in NSW, Aboriginal half-sisters vs adoptive half-sisters

Starting the year off on a very novel case of an intestacy contest, Justice Lindsay of the Supreme Court of New South Wales was called to determine how distribution of an indigenous man’s estate should be distributed where his surviving family were Aboriginal half-sisters and adoptive half-sisters. The case of Re Estate Wilson, Deceased [2017] NSWSC…

Read More

“There is no one alive who is you-er than you!” – Imposter Testator and the Supreme Court

“There is no one alive who is you-er than you!” – Dr Seuss In an odd case, Chief Justice Catherine Holmes was called upon to determine an application of probate in solemn form with a side order of an imposter claim. In the case Martin Terrence Farrell v Warren Elbridge Boston [2016] QSC 278, the Applicant, Martin…

Read More