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Response From Attorney-General (the go away letter)

posted Jul 9, 2011, 12:07 AM by Greg Anastasi

16 August, 2010.                                                                                                         Attorney-General
                                                                                                                                    Minister for Justice
                                                                                                                                   Minister for Tourism
Ms Chloe Fox M.P.                                                                                                     11th Floor
Member for Bright                                                                                                        45 Pirie Street
7 Sturt Road                                                                                                                Adelaide SA 5000
BRIGHTON S.A. 5048                                                                                                GPO Box 464
                                                                                                                                    Adelaide SA 5001
                                                                                                                                    DX 336
                                                                                                                                    Tel 088207 1723
                                                                                                                                    Fax 0882071736


Dear Ms Fox

I write in response to your letter dated 1 June, 2010 written on behalf of your constituent
Mr Greg Anastasi about aspects of inheritance law.

I note Mr Anastasi’s comments on the restrictions that the Inheritance (Family Provision) Act
1972 (the Act) places on testamentary freedom. The freedom to give your estate to whoever
you wish is a general principle of the law. However, this can be unfair and unjust, for
example, when a spouse or child of the deceased suffers hardship as a result of the actions of
the deceased, such as ignoring the needs of a dependant. The Inheritance (Family Provision)
Act 1972 seeks to strike a balance between these considerations.

Mr Anastasi considers that the definition of a child under the Act, should include an age limit.
I understand that, in dealing with matters under the Act, the courts take a number of factors
into account, including the age of the applicant. I consider it is appropriate to leave the
exercise of this discretion with the court as there would be a range of circumstances - for
example, where the child of the deceased had, to their own financial detriment, been the
primary care-giver to the deceased over a substantial period of time - where it would be
equitable for the child to receive a part of the estate, regardless of age.

In relation to the costs of matters in the Supreme Court, I understand this concern and we
continue to strive for affordability and accessibility across our justice system. However, costs
are also an inevitable aspect of a formal judicial system. I also note that only a small
percentage of cases go to trial, and the use of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, such
as mediation, negotiation and conciliation is available in many cases.

I trust you will find this information useful.

Yours sincerely

John Rau