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Key decisions

  • Balcomb v Brownlee [2015] NSWSC 361
  • The Estate of Helen Selle, late of Kirribilli [2015] NSWSC 399

International succession law – Succession Amendment (International Wills) Act 2012 commenced 1 May 2015

The German Australian Pacific Lawyers Association (GAPLA) conference on “International Succession Law” was held in Adelaide on 10 and 11 April 2015.

Increased population movement around the globe, together with the globalisation of trade, is a challenge for the practice of wills and estates law in the 21st century. Many of the 20th century migrants to Australia are dying leaving assets in European countries with civil law regimes rather than common law rules of succession. Even where there is a common law system as in England, there are significant death duty problems to consider. Younger Australians are more adventurous with assets not only in the old countries of Europe but also in Asia, the United States, Africa and South America. The current influx of migration and acquisition of assets in Australia from Asian migrants particularly those from China brings its own problems. Principles of private international law including the effect of domicile, choice of applicable law and the doctrine of renvoi are now necessary tools for the wills and estates practitioner.

Presenters at the conference came from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Australia. The Australian presenter was accredited specialist Richard Neal, a member of the Society’s Elder Law & Succession committee.

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