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NSW Beneficiary Maliciously Disposing of Assets Bequeathed in Will

Discussion in 'Wills and Estate Planning Law Forum' started by Lily21, 6 June 2015.

  1. Lily21

    Lily21 Member

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    Hi, just wondering if anyone has any experience with what to do when a beneficiary has potentially maliciously broken or sold goods bequeathed in a will?

    The person in question is my late father's widow (not my mother) who was originally appointed executor, but has recently renounced her role as executor in order to contest my father's Will. With me now being appointed as Executor.

    She was originally provisioned for in the Will by way of living in my father's house until she died paying all expenses (with the house being transferred into his children's names), but has now decided to contest that provisioning, believing that she is entitled to 50-100% of the deceased estate (even though there was only approx 30% of the original value of the house owing when my mother left my father- so they had paid the majority off before she was on the scene).

    In the Will, there were certain items also bequeathed to his children - of little monetary value to the estate, but which hold great sentimental value to his children. All of which were at his house whilst he was on life support and prior to his death (we all saw them), and now she is claiming that the majority of the goods have been stolen or broken before he died.

    NB. She does have a drugs and alcohol problem (no, I promise I am not sensationalising), and we are worried that she has sold them or potentially broken them in one of her many rages since his death.

    As the Executor of a will, what can I do?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Tracy B

    Tracy B Well-Known Member

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    Hi Lily21,

    As executor of the will, you essentially speak on behalf of the deceased and all beneficiaries under the will. Therefore, you can:
    • Collect all remaining assets belonging to the estate in the widow's possession or control
    • Bring an action on behalf of the estate against the widow for recovery of lost assets
     
  3. Lily21

    Lily21 Member

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    Thanks Tracey B.
    Can you tell me what sort of proof we would need to start this action? Is simply the fact that we all saw the goods enough?
    This is starting to get very messy, with her sending absolutely disgusting, vulgar, defamatory text messages to various family members (some elderly), following (stalking) some members and AVO's being issued etc. I really don't know how to deal with this level of mental instability and am finding that it is all consuming!
     
  4. Tracy B

    Tracy B Well-Known Member

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    Hi Lily21,

    Any evidence that supports your version of events is helpful, this includes any evidence that:
    • Positively supports your version of facts (e.g. statements from yourself, other witnesses who saw the items in her house, receipts, purchasers, advertisements, the will itself etc)
    • Evidence that undermines what she will be saying (e.g. inconsistent statements, character (suggesting motive))
    Evidence really depends on the cause of action, what exactly you allege as the version of events, any what evidence you can get. I can't really help you beyond this as it is very specific to your situation and there is no set formula. Best to contact a wills and probate lawyer about this.
     

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