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Key decisions

  • Lindsay v Arnison [2017] NSWSC 41
  • Downie v Langham [2017] NSWSC 113
  • Rhodes v Rhodes [2017] QSC 21
  • Spata v Tumino; Estate of Gina Spata [2017] NSWSC 111
  • McCooe as Administrator of the Estate of Michael Lawrence Molloy v Pande [2017] NSWSC 219
  • Estate Stojic, Deceased [2017] NSWSC 168
  • Zizzo v Faulks [2017] NSWSC 114
  • Re Kumar [2017] VSC 81
  • Russell v Lee [2017] WASC 57
  • Winn v Harding [2017] NSWSC 239

Fiduciary obligations of an informally appointed agent

Lindsay v Arnison [2017] NSWSC 41 concerned an application for accounting by one of the deceased’s daughters against her sister and brother-in-law for their dealing with the mother’s property. The bank records disclosed expenditure for the benefit of the sister’s family, and not for the benefit of the mother (at [113]).

The Court inferred that the mother had made the defendants her agent for the purpose of operating her bank accounts. Accordingly, they were subject to a fiduciary duty to act in accordance with the mother’s instructions and to not engage in transactions on the mother’s accounts for her own interests, or the interests of her family, rather than the interests of the mother, except with the freely given and fully informed consent of the mother (at [134]–[135]).

The upshot was that the plaintiff was entitled to much more accurate, and independently verified accounting in relation to her mother’s affairs. However, as no-one had obtained a grant of representation for the mother’s estate, there were procedural matters that needed attention before the proceedings could be resolved by final orders.

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