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Key decisions

  • Nomchong v Vey-Cox [2019] NSWSC 1072
  • Re Lapalme; Daley v Leeton [2019] NSWSC 1072
  • Roberts v Pollock [2019] QSC 184
  • Levy v Close [2019] NSWSC 1027
  • Mekhail v Hana [2019] NSWCA 197

Additional content – only available on LSJ Online

  • Walsh v Adrian Cory Sloan as executor of the estate of the late Laurette Dorothy Keddie [2019] WASCA
  • Banks v RSPCA & The Lost Dogs Home: IMO the estate of Carl Laurie Sutton (deceased) [2019] VSC 451
  • Chan v Valmorbida: IMO the Will of Adrian Valmorbida, deceased [2019] VSC 336
  • Cowap v Cowap [2019] NSWSC 1104
  • Gianna (Jenny) Angius v Estate of the late Laura Angius [2019] NSWSC 1012
  • ATO Practical Compliance Guideline PCG 2019/5

Construing a will

It is an accepted tenet of construction that words in a will must be construed to determine the testator’s intentions having regard to the will as a whole and any relevant surrounding circumstances. As recent decisions demonstrate, this can be a difficult process and produce some surprising outcomes. The case of Nomchong v Vey-Cox, demonstrates a common issue with drafting life estates and similar rights of residence; Re Lapalme; Daley v Leeton demonstrates that ‘survive’ does not always mean born before and outlive; and the decisions of Roberts v Pollock and estate of Keddie highlight the great care that a testator needs to properly identify specific gifts, recognising that assets can change between the date of the will and the date of death. They demonstrate the importance of advising clients to review their will if, among other things, there is a significant change in their assets or their circumstances. Of course, these decisions are also important for solicitors advising executors on estate administration. This is no easy task at any time but it is made harder where there is a home-made will, as in estate of Sutton and the Will of Adrian Valmorbida.

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