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Key decisions

  • Gray v Gray [2013] WASC 387
  • D13-14\164 [2014] SCTA 56, D13-14\165 [2014] SCTA 57
  • D13-14\166 [2014] SCTA 58; Bayssari v Bazouni [2014] NSWSC 910
  • Abu-Arab v NSW Trustee & Guardian [2014] NSWSC 954
  • Warren v Leo [2014] NSWSC 494; Taheri v Vitek [2014] NSWCA 209
  • In the Estate of the late Anthony Marras [2014] NSWSC 915.

Homemade wills are a curse

The reasons in Gray v Gray [2013] WASC 387 commence: “Homemade wills are a curse”. After reference to problems presented by a badly drawn will it continues: “All of this could have been avoided if the testator had consulted a lawyer and signed off on a will which reflected his wishes. There is no question but that engaging the services of a properly qualified and experienced lawyer to draft a will is money well spent.” If evidence is needed to support these remarks, consider Boettcher v Driscoll [2014] SASC 86 where the handwritten document recorded an amendment to a properly prepared will to allow a beneficiary to “have use of the house for as long as he needs it”. The court found the document constituted an “informal will” but that it was void for uncertainty. The effect was that the will remained unaltered. Also consider Shirley Colborne Hogben (dec’d) [2014] SASC 91. The propounded will was a photocopy of a will kit form with handwritten additions. The only gift was $1000 to Port Adelaide Football Club. The court determined that the photocopy document be admitted to probate albeit that there was an intestacy of the residuary estate of $594,000.

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