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Business 2 Business column: the mother, the daughter, the dispute and a note

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In a recent case, the Supreme Court had to determine if a handwritten note constituted the Will of the Deceased.

Broadly, the background was: a. The Deceased died, survived only by one child – her daughter; b. The Deceased and her daughter were very close for many years but fell out over some financial dealings; c. The Deceased, in her earlier Wills, gave her entire estate to her daughter; d. After the falling out, however, the Deceased made a new Will with her solicitor in 2020 – which expressly excluded her daughter; e. Following the Deceased’s death, a note (written by the Deceased about a month before she died) was found in her top bedside drawer.

Some of the wording in the note read “I am changing my Will!” and “I leave the
house and all my money to you …”.

Could it override the 2020 Will done by the solicitor?

The Court found that even though the note was written shortly before the Deceased died, the Court was not satisfied for other reasons, the note constituted the Deceased’s last Will.

It’s another sad (and expensive) example of what can occur if you change your estate plan but don’t formally update your documentation.

Trent Wakerley, Director, Kruger Law, Level 3, Ocean Central, Ocean Street, Maroochydore, 5443 9600, krugerlaw.com.au

This column is part of our Business 2 Business (B2B) series featuring industry leaders sharing their expertise. For more great articles, SUBSCRIBE to our FREE news feed, direct to your inbox daily. All you need to do is enter your name and email below.

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