The experienced solicitors at Martin Bullock Lawyers understand the value of properly written and executed Estate documents. They save a lot of time, confusion and money when you reach the end of your life. This means not only having an executed Will, but also a Power of Attorney and Appointment of Enduring Guardian.
So, here is a story about millions of dollars being wasted because of a bit of stubbornness and a failure to sign a Will!
Australian millionaire Millie Phillips was recently at the centre of a court battle over her estate, worth an estimated $110 million. Ms Phillips made her fortune through the Nickel Boom, investing $4,000.00 in a tin mine in 1968.
Ms Phillips had decided to get her affairs in order and drafted her Will on multiple occasions previously. Due to a falling out with both of her children, Ms Phillips had specific instructions and wishes in relation to the division of her large Estate upon her death.
She wished to leave money for her six grandchildren and her housekeeper, as well as donating to the Tel Aviv University in Israel, Sydney’s Jewish Museum, and her own “Millie Phillips Jewish Fund”.
Due to frustration and conflict with her lawyers and family, the 90-year-old never signed her Will, nor her Power of Attorney or Appointment of Guardian. After suffering a stroke in April 2018, Ms Phillips was rendered incapable of signing her Will, and had not bestowed a Power of Attorney to do so. Her estate was therefore regarded as intestate – see our previous blog on intestacy for more information.
As a result, through a time-consuming and costly process, her grandson had to apply under the Succession Act through the NSW Court of Appeal to make a will on behalf of Ms Phillips based on her previous drafts.
Ms Phillips’ impressive Estate has ultimately been divided in accordance with her wishes – however, the same outcome could have been achieved in a way that was less costly in terms of both time and money had she signed her Will, or appointed a Power of Attorney to sign on her behalf.
Have a look at this Sydney Morning Herald article for further information about Ms Phillips’ story.
Don’t wait until it is too late to get your affairs in order. If you haven’t got a Will, Power of Attorney or Appointment of Guardian, our experienced solicitors are happy to assist you. Contact Greg Martin or Jacqueline Wainwright of our office to book a consultation or ring us on 02 9687 9322.