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VIC Parents' Wills and Inheritance - What to Do About Unfair Distribution?

Discussion in 'Wills and Estate Planning Law Forum' started by Anne Nichols, 20 January 2016.

  1. Anne Nichols

    Anne Nichols Member

    21 August 2014
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    When our parents passed away within a year of each other, each of their Wills stipulated that their 6 children were to inherit exactly equal shares of the Estate. This occurred with property and financial assets, but 'goods and chattels' were a different story.

    As many of us wanted the same items as inheritance, a consensus was reached that there was to be a raffle some months down the track, when we could all meet and divide things fairly. Items of roughly equal value were to be grouped in 6 - one for each sibling - and we would raffle one group at a time, and each choose one item as our name came up. Two of the siblings (one was the Executor of will) were responsible for grouping our parents valuables and personal belongings (including jewelry, an antique piano, antique maps, antique furniture and decorative items, books, sentimental items etc).

    None of what was 'agreed upon' occurred, however, as the two siblings in question (with the permission of a third) decided to divide everything up when they were alone without telling anyone else! As you might have guessed, the 'prize' items were allocated to them and in some cases, their children.

    I did not even know anything had been distributed until two months later when it was revealed that the three siblings had already taken their 'fairly won' items to their homes, intending to notify us only after they had finished moving them. Probate had not even been applied for. The least valuable items went to the remaining three siblings including the items no-one else wanted. Many of the items left were fit for either disposal or donation to a charity. They, on the other hand, took the bulk of gold and diamond jewelry, antiques and valuable furniture. There was not a single item that was not valuable.

    When I sought legal advice, the customary letters were exchanged with them claiming that we other three siblings had 'agreed to their dividing and deciding' who got what. It became clear that the cost of taking them to court would cost more than the items were worth and so we dropped the matter.

    Can anyone suggest if there was an easier way around this, for justice to be done and for our parents' wishes to be respected?
  2. JS79

    JS79 Well-Known Member

    2 October 2015
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    As a beneficiary you have a right to contest the rule. You also have a right to take action against an executor who is not performing his/her duties legally as per the will as the executor of the estate.

    Please contact a local wills and probate lawyer to see if it would be worth contesting. See Get Connected with the Right Lawyer for You to find a local lawyer who can help you.
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