VIC Life interest relinquished

Discussion in 'Property Law Forum' started by Kate Wild, 23 August 2019.

  1. Kate Wild

    Kate Wild Member

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    When my grandfather died in 2006, he left my grandmother a lifetime interest in the family farm, and made his four adult children beneficiaries (remaindermen).

    Our grandmother now has dementia, and went into a care home four years ago. I have recently discovered the family farm title was transferred to the adult children in 2012, with my grandmother seemingly relinquishing her life interest in the property. I assume this was done so in the coming years she’d be able to enter a care facility cheaper.

    I believe the remaindermen are now trying to sell one share of the farm (my father’s share, he recently passed away), but something is preventing them from doing so, making them very cross.

    My father left everything to his new wife in his will, intending for her to pass it down our family line (she won’t. Sigh.) This means she also got his share in my grandparents farm.

    I’m trying to work out what could be preventing them from selling that quarter. I have checked both my grandfathers will and the farm title deed, it SEEMS okay but I’m not a lawyer! I believe it was perhaps during an attempt to sell that share that something was discovered. Apparently something to do with my grandmothers will, though I can’t see what that could possibly be, as she only had a life interest in the property, not ownership. She is 99 years old and as I think I said before, suffering from dementia.

    I can’t think what it could be! And obviously I can’t ask my uncles as sadly they have stopped speaking with my sister and I since our dad died. I believe they are working with dad’s new wife trying to sort out a way they can all get money.

    Ugh

    If my nanna signed a deed of relinquishment as stated on the tittle deed of the farm, is that an actual document?

    Anyway, I know this is convoluted and probably impossible to comment on, but I thought I’d throw it out there anyway, just in case!

    Thank you for reading.

    Kate
     
  2. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer
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    Might be a joint tenancy.
    Might be a term of his will - such as if there's a "string attached" to a gift - lawyers call it a "conditon precedent",
    such as being married, or not being bankrupt, or whatever.
    Might be that there is/are unresolved question(s) about the legitimacy of the 2012 transaction(s).
    One point I'm not quite getting.... When you say "new wife" - do you mean somebody who is not your biological Grandmother?

    One thing that sometimes happens with farms,
    that does not happen with, say, houses in the suburbs, is
    that the land is owned by a trust, not by the farmer(s) directly.

    In such cases, what you sometimes see is that a testator (say, your grandfather)
    leaves "the land" to someone (or some people, say, the grandchildren) in their will,
    but that land is actually held by a trustee company.
    It's therefore not theirs to gift.
    So, for example, where, say, the Blackacre Pastoral Company is trustee of the land,
    but Dad purports to leave the land to one or more of his children, as though it was his personal property
    the gift will fail.

    You can also get issues when a spouse (or long term de facto)
    doesn't necessarily inherit as a surviving joint tenant - because, if a trust is in play,
    they are not necessarily a legal owner of the land.
     
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