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Key decisions

  • Zorbas v Sidiropoulous (No 2) [2009] NSWCA 197
  • Thomas v Nash [2010] SASC 153
  • Kelly v Kelly [2019] NSWSC 994
  • Austin v Austin [2019] NSWSC 1397
  • Stejskal v Hely [2019] NSWSC 1417
  • Dakin v Floyd [2019] NSWSC 1220

Passing over the executors: a consequence of abuse of power of attorney

Mrs Warner left two properties in her will – one to each of her daughters. About six months before she died, one of her daughters, who was also her attorney, transferred the properties to herself and her sister (Mrs Warner’s other daughter). After the mother’s death, proceedings were successfully brought to pass-over the attorney as an executor. The Court observed that: ‘Prima facie, the [attorney] acted inconsistently with the interests of the deceased and placed herself in a position of conflict between the interests of her mother and her own interests. The transfers now place the [attorney and her sister] in a position of conflict between their own interests and their duties as executors of the deceased’s will’ (Re Warner [2019] VSC 656 (McMillan J) at [32]). The Court added that the actions of the attorney ‘warrant careful investigation’ (at [33]).

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