“Our father only disinherited us because of undue influence by his attorney.” Which case won?
Man becomes close friends with his neighbours
A man died on 24 November 2008 at the age of 93.
Prior to his death he had owned a farm in Queensland.
He had bought the farm in the 1970s and for many years spent his weekends there.
When his wife passed away in August 2003, he relocated to the farm permanently.
In 1988, Mr and Mrs A purchased the property adjoining the man’s farm.
Over the years that followed, the man became close friends with Mr and Mrs A.
Man leaves token amount to children and grants power of attorney to Mr A
On 6 November 2003, the man executed an enduring power of attorney, appointing Mr A as his attorney for financial, personal and health matters.
On 11 March 2004, the man made his final will. It was prepared by Mr and Mrs A’s solicitor and named Mr and Mrs A as executors.
The will left $200 to each of the man’s five children, his financial shares to his grandchildren and the residue of the estate to Mr A. The will included the following statement.
I HAVE SPECIFICALLY EXCLUDED my children from any substantial provision out of my estate due to the fact that I do not have a normal father/child relationship with them as I have had very limited sporadic contact with them for many years.
Farm removed from estate by transfer to neighbour’s sons
At around the same time, the man entered into a series of transactions with Mr A and his sons.
These transactions had the effect of transferring the farm to Mr A’s sons, to be held on trust for Mr A.
In return, the man was granted a life estate in the farm.
These transactions removed the farm from the man’s estate, so that even if his children successfully challenged his will after his death, they could not lay claim to this valuable asset.
Children challenge transfer of farm on basis of undue influence
After the man’s death, three of his five children made a claim for provision out of their father’s estate.
However, since the estate was not worth much without the farm, the children also sought to bring the farm back under the umbrella of the estate.
The children therefore made a claim in the Supreme Court of Queensland that their father’s gift of the interest in the farm to Mr A’s sons as trustees was induced by undue influence.
They asked the court to order the neighbour’s sons to transfer the farm to the executors of their father’s estate.