Will Disputes

Super war declared after Dad's death

An Australian superannuation fund will find itself out of pocket by almost $500,000 after a tribunal found it paid superannuation death benefits without doing proper checks on who should have received the money.

Brisbane estate litigation lawyer Charlie Young acted on behalf of a deceased’s son in a complaint against Colonial First State in the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal after it paid $460,000 in death benefits to the sister of the deceased man.

Trouble was, when the son found out what happened, he took action.

Woman's disappearance at sea highlights inadequate Queensland laws for missing people

Four years after a Queensland woman disappeared at sea a Brisbane lawyer trying to highlight flaws in the state’s estate laws is frustrated that nothing has been done to enact laws for managing a missing person’s estate.

Brisbane estate litigation lawyer Charlie Young says there is a serious gap in the state’s estate laws with no legislation addressing what may happen to the assets and financial affairs of a person who is missing.

Strict test for testamentary capacity

In the recent decision of MPL [2016] QSC 61, the Supreme Court of Queensland has provided an important reminder of the relevant test to establish whether or not a person has testamentary capacity to make a Will and the importance of each limb of that test.

MPL is a 24 year old male who suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2012. As a result of the accident, he received a compensation payment in excess of $7 million.

In February 2016, he gave instructions to a solicitor to prepare a Will and he signed that Will.

Parties ordered to pay their own costs of estate dispute

In the recent decision of Carter v Brine (No 2) [2016] SASC 36, the Supreme Court of South Australia ordered that an applicant and beneficiaries involved in a complex estate challenge must pay their own legal costs of the dispute, instead of having their costs paid by the estate or an opposing party.

In Brine (No 1), the deceased’s de facto spouse made various claims against the deceased’s estate in relation to interests in property and to receive increased provision. The beneficiaries of the estate were heavily involved in and defended the claim made by her.

Interpreting a Will: description or condition?

In the recent Western Australian case of Blyth v Wilken [2015] WASC 486, the Court was required to interpret the Will of a deceased person to determine if his former de facto spouse was entitled to receive a gift left to her.

The deceased’s Will stated:

“I give devise and bequest the rest and residue of my real and personal estate … upon trust for my de facto wife Kathrine Mary Murray absolutely …”

Fighting families diminish value of estate in court

In the recent decision of Hoskin [2016] QSC 31, the Queensland Supreme Court was faced with the unique task of determining the proper distribution of the estate of a person whose identity could not be confirmed.

Phyllis Hoskin died in 2009. She had no spouse or children and did not leave a Will. The Public Trustee was appointed as the administrator of her estate and had the task of distributing her $1.2 million assets to her next of kin, in accordance with the rules of intestacy.

iPhone Will Saga Has Sequel in Court

The lawyers responsible for a legal first in Australia – having the Court declare a Will on an iPhone to be valid- have gone back to court for another win over bequest details in what’s become known as the “iWill”.

In what was a legal first in Australia, Brisbane estate litigation lawyer Charlie Young successfully argued to the Supreme Court in Brisbane in 2013 that a Will typed into a mobile phone before the owner took his own life, was legally valid.

Queensland Court of Appeal confirms mutual Will

The Queensland Court of Appeal has confirmed that a Will made by Mr and Mrs Masci was a ‘mutual Will’, ensuring that each of the couple’s children from previous marriages will share in an equal portion of their estates.

Mr and Mrs Masci married in 1984 and each had children from a previous marriage. They did not have any children together. In 2006, they prepared a joint Will at home, which stated:

Dementia Drives Call for Court-Decided Will Updates

The shock news that dementia should no longer be regarded as an old person’s disease, with one in 13 sufferers now aged under 65, has focused awareness on a related sort of nightmare that could haunt a family.

A loved partner or parent has dementia and lost their ability to make or amend their will. What can you do?

Brisbane estate litigation lawyer Charlie Young says the scenario is one we can expect to see a lot more of in the years ahead as families turn to the Supreme Court to decide what someone with dementia might have wanted in their Will.

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