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Estate Litigation Costs. Supreme Court of SA gives a caution. - Nov 2016

Likely amendments to the Wills Act (SA) 1936 - Nov 2016

The South Australian Government proposes a bill to provide couples with an opportunity to legally register their relationship regardless of their sex or gender identity.

If passed, such an amendment should be considered by all financial planners, accountants and other trusted advisors whom may have affected clients.

Ms Katrine Hildyard, member of the Australia Labor Party has recently introduced the Relationship Register Bill to the South Australian Parliament. 

One of the motivating factors for the bill was due to the death of an English tourist earlier this year, Mr David Bulmer-Rizzi.  His death received considerable media coverage.

Stop the Press! Important Changes to Triple S Super Regulations - Jul 2016

Previously, members of Triple S Super have had no discretion to decide how they would like their superannuation funds to be paid upon their death.  Until recently, the legislation directed that upon the death of a member, their superannuation death benefit was paid to their spouse and in the event the member died without a spouse, the benefit would only then be paid to the member’s estate.

However, on 16 June 2016, changes to the Southern State Superannuation Regulations were gazetted to enable members of Triple S Super, Flexible Rollover Product investors and Income Stream investors to nominate their Legal Personal Representative as the beneficiary of their superannuation death benefit upon their death.  Partners Donna Benge and Rod Jones, and Associate Christina Flourentzou explain the changes.

Supreme Court Confirms Principles for Validity of Copy of Lost Will - Jul 2016

Partner Rod Jones and Associate Christina Flourentzou explain.

Charities: To defend or not to defend? - Jun 2016

Wright v Wright [2016] QDC 74 (5 April 2016)

The District Court of Queensland has recently considered the question of whether a father failed to make adequate provision in his Will for his two adult children.

Partners Donna Benge and Rod Jones, and Associate Christina Flourentzou discuss the case further.

Triple Homicide and the Forfeiture Rule - Jun 2016

Estate of Raul Novosadek [2016] NSWSC 554

In a recent New South Wales case, the Court had to consider whether the “Forfeiture Rule” should be applied where a son was found not guilty of murdering his mother, his step father and his brother due to mental illness. 

Partners Donna Benge and Rod Jones, and Associate Christina Flourentzou discuss the case further.

Competing Superannuation Claims - Apr 2016

Brine v Carter [2015] SASC 205

Justice Blue of the Supreme Court of South Australia recently considered the fiduciary duties and obligations of an Executor when the benefits of a deceased’s superannuation are being claimed. Partner Donna Benge and Rod Jones explore further.

The costly iPhone Will - Apr 2016

Yu v Yu & Ors [2015] QSC 373

In our December 2013 issue of Wills Watch, we reviewed the Queensland case of Yu. In that case, the Supreme Court found that an electronic document created by Mr Karter Yu on his iPhone shortly prior to him taking his own life was intended by Mr Yu to be his last Will and testament. Partner Donna Benge and Rod Jones discuss below.

Not every player wins a prize - Feb 2016

In commercial litigation matters, legal costs are said to “follow the event”. Consequently, the losing party will usually have to pay their own legal costs plus the legal costs of the successful party. Ultimately, this forces both parties to give careful consideration to the merits of their case and any potential offers of settlement.

Historically, litigation involving a deceased’s estate has often attracted a different approach when considering the question of who should pay the legal costs. The courts have expressed the view that a deceased’s estate should pay all legal costs of the litigation because the willmaker failed to give proper consideration to their estate planning. These costs can frequently be in excess of the financial award an applicant might achieve in the litigation. The consequence has been that some claims with dubious merit are pursued and sensible offers of settlement are rejected because an applicant takes a view that they essentially have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Til death do us right apart - Nov 2015

Partner, Donna Benge and Associate, Christina Flourentzou explore the case of Alagiah v Crouch as administrator of the estate of Ratnam Alagiah [2015] QSC 281 (8 October 2015)

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