A R Walmsley Solicitors Sydney



Bill's father was an extremely successful buinessman. Bill had always wanted to be a farmer. A company, owned and controlled by Bill's father, purchased a farm and Bill became the farm's manager.

Years went by and Bill's mother died. Bill's father re-partnered. Bill continued to work hard on the farm. Bill had three brothers and a sister. Bill's father died and in his Will he left the whole of his estate to be divided equally between his current wife and his five children. The critical effect of the Will was that Bill did not receive the farm on which he had invested so much of his working life.

"Dad said to me that the farm would be mine. He always encouraged me working on the farm. I just don't understand it. I even have letters saying what a good job I was doing. The letters refer to the farm as 'your farm'. "

Unfortunately, Bill's father had also written other letters to his current wife saying; "Bill thinks he is going to inherit the farm. I can't possibly do that as this would disadvantage the rest of the family. "

There was a conflict between Bill and the rest of the family. Bill was insistent that the farm be transferred to him. Bill was adequately provided for in his father's Will, however, the provision was not enough for him to keep the farm.

Bill made an application to the Supreme Court for additional provision to enable him to keep the farm. The application cost a huge amount of money and was unsuccessful.

I suspect that Bill's father was caught on the horns of dilemma. He didn't quite know what to do. As a result of him not communicating clearly with Bill, a false expectation had been created. That false expectation created conflict within the family and the loss of significant money in legal costs. Bill's father had not sought good legal advice in relation to estate planning. It was too hard to talk about.

If you are caught in this situation, then it is important to talk about it and plan your way through it. It is important for you to express your wishes to all of those who are effected. Those wishes could be included in your Will or they could be in a document which accompanies the Will. Most importantly, Bill should have known what his father was thinking.

Bill's father may not have known how to plan his way through the problem. Good communication with Bill and proper legal advice in relation to estate planning could have resolved the problem. It is important that you receive competent legal advice in relation to the establishment of an estate plan which may resolve difficulties while you are alive.

It is hard, but not too hard.

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