News round up – Estate Planning

News round up – Estate Planning

Recent national news stories have put the issue of estate planning into the spotlight. These articles highlight generally the critical importance of appropriate estate planning for Australian adults of all ages.

Case 1

Banking ‘vultures’ slammed after widowed single mum loses house

A young father died in an accident, leaving a widow pregnant with their first child.  Dying without a will set off a chain of events that ended with the forced sale of the family home.  There are a couple of things that young families should take away from this tragic tale – firstly is the importance of ensuring you have an appropriate and up to date will – particularly when you own property, and even more so when you start a family.  Many people do not realise that in Queensland, marriage can revoke an earlier will, which means if a new will is not made before you die, you will die intestate and the State’s rules will apply to your estate.  The second issue to be taken from this case is the importance of obtaining appropriate legal advice if a loved one dies – whether they leave a will or not.  Estate administration can be a straightforward or a complex matter, however legal advice should be sought to ensure that the appropriate steps are taken in the appropriate time, and to enable communication with creditors regarding that administration.

Case 2

Estranged son takes $700k inheritance meant for Charities from Gold Coast Man

An older man allegedly made a will to remove his estranged step-son as a beneficiary, and shortly moved into respite care.  After his death the will could not be found, and the man’s savings had been removed from his account.

We are regularly asked to deal with urgent estate plans for older and vulnerable people.  Our team takes all necessary steps to provide appropriate evidence of testamentary capacity, and where appropriate obtain an interim will at the initial consultation.  We generally retain the original documents in our safe custody (and if not, we maintain a record of custody of the documents). Finally, we have successfully assisted clients in obtaining grants of representation of informal wills and other documents that evidence testamentary intention.

After a death, it is important that estate assets (including bank accounts) are preserved and frozen until the estate can be properly administered.  As with the first case, an initial consultation with a solicitor about estate administration is crucial.

Case 3

Vaughan Bullivant living on $1000pw as he battles for empire

A well known an high net worth individual is engaged in a dispute with his attorneys about his capacity.  Enduring Powers of Attorney are an important part of an estate plan, however care should be taken in relation to both the selection of attorneys and which additional clauses should be included in the document.  We are experienced in dealing with both drafting complex enduring powers of attorney and dealing with capacity issues before the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

If you would like to meet with one of our experienced estate planning lawyers, please contact us here to book an appointment, or call us on (07) 5606 7332.

Contact our Gold Coast Will disputes team if you have an Estate Litigation enquiry.


Gold Coast lawyer James Ballantyne

James Ballantyne


Sidnee Jennings