Mail Bag - Your Stories

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Send them to Greg

On 26/08/2011 9:13 PM, Clara wrote:
Hi Greg
Today I recieved a bill for $227,000 of which $155,000 is solicitors my husband
estate was only worth $120,000 and now I HAVE TO PAY ALL THESE SOLICITORS SO
WERE DO i get the $150,000 from. and no one cares what the law has done to me
or my life. of course you can talk about any of my problems and could you put
me on your mailing list for the news letters.
Regards Clara
On 17/08/2011 6:47 AM, Clara wrote:
My name is Clara ----- and under this act I have been put into 200,000 debt ,
and all it does is cost me money if I ask a question, my husband died 6 years
ago and his children  decided to challenge his will, one boy has been awarded
40,000 and one girl has been awarded 30,000. Both these people are 24yrs old
and 22 years old. the girl didn't know he father the parents broke up when she
was 5 months old, the boy had nothing to do with his father since the age of
9yrs, so why did they get any thing and the mother of the boy pushed it all
the way to the supreme court whick has put me into all sorts of problems,
I'm 61 years old, I am so distressed and the Law and the judge is wrong,

On 29/06/2010 6:47 PM, Jenny wrote:

In response to your posting, I wholeheartedly agree.

They have “child 2” and want to only leave a small sum. Obviously this is not going to work should they choose to contest it when the time comes.

In fact, your fictional scenario is the exact situation I am in at present in assisting my parents with structuring their will.

The law needs to be changed.

How on earth can a 53 year old married woman with 3 adult children need “providing for” when they have deliberately absolved themselves from the family for 20+ years? Your example could not have been any better depicted for me.



On 10/10/2010 6:47 PM, Anonymous wrote:

Dear Greg

Here is my story.

When my father died in mid 2007, I had hoped my share of his small estate, ca $190K, would make a large difference to my life. I only $40K p.a and live in rental accommodation, with little to no prospect of ever owning a home of my own.  Essentially, when Dad died, I asked that my sister's social worker, who had been engaged in supporting my sister in battling drug addiction, ensure her financial safety in the event that she was paid a large lump sum amount. This was because of the nature of the company she kept and my fears that family and fair-weather friends would exploit her good nature.

I was surprised when my sister's administrators - "professionals" I asked be appointed, though this firm was selected by VCAT without consulting my family - made a claim for a larger than half share of Dad's estate.

It has now been well over 3 years and neither mt sister nor I have received anything, her own requests to her administrators that the estate be divided equally has been ignored, and many thousands of dollars have been spent on lawyers out of his small estate because of the FPA.
With the solid foundation provided to them by the FPA, the administrators for my sister have ignoring the advice of professionals that have said that my sister's condition has been blown out of proportion. They choose to turn a blind eye and flout the FPA, regardless of how applicable it really is to this specific situation.
I would understand that, were she any less capable than I, she might need a greater sum - but she's a capable 25 year old with a mind of her own and a voice that her representatives have chosen to blatantly ignore; ignore along with any evidence that negates their argument for her receiving the lion's share.

Suffice to say that they will receive a percentage of any money paid to her. This is itself is motivation enough for them to press on and abuse the outdated and unfair law that is the Family Provision Act.

I live in Victoria and will be contacting my MP to bring greater attention to this abuse of a law the government is too complacent to address and do away with.

Name withheld - Victoria

On 10/11/2010 4:47 PM, Anonymous wrote:
In 2008 when my father died in NSW, he left 4 children two men and two women in there 40's and 50's. Both the women had refused contact with him for over 20 years because in there words “it wasn't worth the hassle”. This caused my father a great deal of pain and suffering.

In his will he left most of his estate to his two sons as they both had families to support and had provided him with support and love over the years. To the daughters he left only a token amount as they had no dependants, were financial independent and had abandoned him.
We were advised that as the daughters had mortgages ( as do the sons), and the court likes to pay mortgages the court would likely pay there mortgages from the sons inheritance.
Also as they were women they are considered by the court to require more assistance then men.
We were also were told that if we went to court and won the estate would still have to pay an additional $90,000 for two days in the NSW Supreme Court. In other words even if you win you loose. So we paid them off.
So in the end
Sister 1 got about % 20 of the estate instead of % 0.1
Sister 2 got about % 5 of the estate instead of % 0.1
The Lawyers got % 20 of the estate.
The sons are due % 26 each of the estate instead of % 50.

Actually after almost 3 years the sons haven't received anything due to lawyers and executors. But that's a whole other story.

I don't think this is what the authors of this law intended.

Name withheld - NSW

On 3/3/2010 12:13 AM, Anonymous wrote:

The FPA (NSW) has caused me immense stress and hardship (financially and emotionally)!


My father passed away in 2008. His will was through the NSW public trustee, and they are also the Executors.My parents (both dead) came to Australia in 1976. They both worked extremely hard, more than one or two jobs at a time to give myself and my brother a good life. Everything we have today is due to their hard work and self-less – ness. IT’s a textbook story of wanting better for your family and hoping to give your children a great future.

My brother has spent the last close to 15 years of his life, being estranged from myself and my late father. Part of those 15 years he also spent trying his best to get the family home away from my late father. There is a history of this, we (my late father and I) just learnt to live with it whilst my father was alive, and put it to one side.

My father’s will left my brother a substantial amount of cash and me a life interest in the family home.

I spent the last nearly 7 years living in that family home, it is my home. It is where I was the main carer of my dead father, it is where I spent alot of time looking after my dad without any help, whatsoever from my brother. Even though I repeatedly asked him for help on many many occasions, when my dad was in ICU and very sick.

Now thanks to the FPA, my brother is able to challenge for the house, that he has always wanted and have me thrown out of my home as a result.

So what my brother tried to do for nearly 15 years, and failed to do so he can do so now, through the courts and with lawyers and barristers due to this FPA ACT.

What is most appalling is that we write our wills, we go through a huge process of trying to be fair, and make sure our loved ones are looked after.. after we depart this earth; but after we are gone our wishes are over-looked by a heartless system and over-looked to serve in most cases gold diggers who can launch a challenge to our wills.

In my case, I am faced with 2 battles: the first against the plaintiff in which if I lose I lose my home

And the second battle: against the Executors themselves, ie: TAG (Trusty and Guardian of NSW) as they have done basically zero to defend my father’s will.

Then the question is:

Why bother doing a will in the first place?

And why is there such an act as the FPA that allows people to pursue their own selfish greed based agendas to the winning end?

And of course, there will always be lawyers/barristers who will gladly work in this area, as they know that at the end of the day, they will always be paid.

The defendant/beneficiary? Well they go through hell and high tide, tread water, loose sleep, oh and of course, they are still grieving the loss of that loved one at the same time.

This is something that you cant really do, and find closure as you are hourly, daily reminded of their missing from your life due to legal challenges to their wishes.

The courts and the legal system BOTH need to recognise the role of ‘grief’ here. Which they, in my experience they do not.

As I write, this matter is set to go to a hearing in a month. The plaintiff has lodged 5 affidavits, all filled with venomous lies and accusations aimed directly at me. The TAG have managed only ONE affidavit from myself, despite my repeated requests to do more.

I can only hope and pray that some- how justice prevails and the plaintiff will be defeated.

Name withheld - NSW