The Courier-Mail ran a story on a case where a friend of the deceased was hoping to get the changes the deceased made to his will on a beer carton validated is his final will. Below is our summary of the case:
|Case||Re: Olive (BS2171/20)|
|How long it took||Died November; order refusing probate of beer carton/coaster documents made end of March – i.e. 5 months in limbo before anything could even get started in estate administration|
|Facts||Deceased made a will in May 2019, where he left his estate to children, step-children and grandchildren. After May 2019, he told a friend that he wanted to change his will, to provide for his friends and to leave his children and stepchildren out. He constantly wrote notes, on all manner of scraps of paper, and found at his home were various notes that includes names of relatives, numbers, and comments and phrases such as “has enough” and “doesn’t deserve it” (likely referring to his children). He was due to meet with a solicitor, but died prior to making any formal changes. In the circumstances, the deceased’s friend sought to have the notes/beer carton/coaster admitted to probate as the deceased’s final will.|
|Brief overview of process||Only the Supreme Court can decide on whether the notes formed a valid will for the deceased. In seeking to get the notes/beer carton/coaster admitted to probate, this required the purported executor to consult lawyers, gather supporting evidence, notifying and serving court proceedings on all persons who were named in the May 2019 will and beer carton/coaster notes, filing and preparing court proceedings that would not have been straightforward. Then it required an application and hearing before a judge, including briefing a barrister, as well as responding to other parties who opposed orders declaring the beer carton/coaster notes as a will.
|Outcome||The beer carton/coaster notes were not a valid will, and so the last valid will made in May 2019 was valid.|
|Our comment||So, what should’ve been straightforward became a costly and labour intensive process.
All this in comparison to an ordinary, proper executed will where the process is largely procedural and can be accomplished without significant expense, doesn’t require serving notices/court proceedings on other parties, doesn’t require a hearing or briefing a barrister.