Taking steps to keep the family together

Posted on July 27th, 2017

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After the death of a loved one, family members often quarrel over a deceased’s possessions.  Jewellery is frequently fought over.  Unfortunately, the legal costs of taking such disputes to Court are prohibitive which means that whoever has the jewellery is likely to keep it.

In Tina Marie Carter v Elizabeth Margaret Law [2017] NSWSC 919 a Judge hearing a dispute over jewellery acknowledged this saying: “It is most unfortunate that a dispute involving the sum of $30,000 could not be resolved without incurring costs”.  The Judge’s view was that the costs were likely to equal the amount in dispute.  In that case, a mother died leaving her estate to her children in unequal shares.  She appointed two of her children executors of her estate.

The executors deducted $30,000.00 from the monies due to be paid to their sister arguing that she had taken her mother’s jewellery before she died and should give credit for it.  The sister argued that her mother had gifted the jewellery to her.  Before final orders were made, the Judge ordered that the executors be given the chance to supply evidence as to the value of the jewellery and the fact that the jewellery was in the sister’s possession.

To keep the family together, when writing your Will seek advice from your lawyer about the best way, in your particular circumstances, to avoid disputes such as this one.

Felicity Wardhaugh, Special Counsel at Mullane & Lindsay Solicitors, NewcastleFelicity Wardhaugh is Special Counsel at Mullane & Lindsay Solicitors and practises extensively in  Wills and estate planning, Commercial dispute resolution and other litigation.  If you require any assistance in these areas please contact Felicity Wardhaugh to arrange a consultation or contact our Newcastle office.

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