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The increasing complexity of families continues to have ramifications for wills and estates law, particularly in answering the question about who can make a claim on a parent’s estate. In the United States, the Matter of the Estate of Douglas Castellano and the Parentage of Gregory Bock, dealt with paternity issues, divorce, adoption and dying without a will. In this case, a woman, Elisa, ended a two year relationship with her partner, Douglas, and…
A new study has revealed that Australians are relying on an inheritance and are already working out how they will spend it. About 29 per cent of Australians concede they are expecting an inheritance and they intend to spend some or all of it once payday arrives. The figures released by debt solutions agency Fox Symes reveal that 17 per cent of those hoping for a handout once a family member dies will use it to…
Elder abuse is a problem that occurs in most socio-economic groups in Western countries around the world. One man with very personal experience in this area is Philip Marshall, grandson of the late New York City philanthropist Brooke Astor. In 2006, Marshall took legal action against his father, Anthony Marshall, accusing him, among other things, of illegally scheming to take control of Astor’s $100 million fortune. At the time, she suffered from the effects of…
A son who inherited a “mere £1.6m” from his wealthy father launched an estate battle with his siblings over the rest of their parents’ £10m fortune, claiming that the fact that he and his siblings had all received an equal inheritance was unfair. Gary McDonald claimed his work on his parents’ farmland meant he should have pocketed the bulk of the cash, which was split equally between him and his five siblings. A court heard their father…
Should a man who killed his parents be able to inherit their estate? In December 2014, Scott Settree got into an argument with his parents Ian and Margaret over a bottle of wine. They wanted him to replace one he’d drunk without asking. The 46-year-old became enraged, and shot both of his parents dead in the home he shared with them in Cobar, in north-west NSW. Two years later, Mr Settree was found not guilty due…
Your own death is not a topic you like to think about, but being prepared for death can save your family and loved ones a lot of heartache. It also increases the chances that your wishes will be honoured and that your loved ones are looked after following your death. Your Will Everyone needs a will, even if you’re young, have no children and think you don’t own anything of value. If you have…
A dairy farmer’s son who “doesn’t like cows” is fighting a family estate battle in the High Court over his right to inherit the family farm. Clive Shaw, 55, said he had worked on the farm in New York, Lincolnshire, from the age of seven, and was promised that it would be his. But after the family fell out his parents wrote him out of their wills. The court heard Mr Shaw had not worked hard…
The sister of a millionaire who amassed her fortune living a frugal lifestyle has won a court case to prove a postcard she wrote is a valid will. Kathleen Steiner, 59, from Taranaki on New Zealand‘s North Island, died in hospice care in her sister’s arms after a ‘very courageous battle’ in January. Ms Steiner, whose estate was worth $NZ2.8 million ($AU2.1 million) when she died, did not formally prepare her will but wrote various…
In the United Kingdom, a consultant psychiatrist sent by NHS bosses to assess an elderly widow in west Cumbria, took control of her finances so that she and her family could inherit the bulk of the pensioner’s £1.3m estate, a jury heard. The court heard how Alemi, employed as a locum consultant psychiatrist by the NHS in Workington, abused her trusted role so that she and her grandchildren could inherit the widow’s estate. Gillian Belham,…
San Francisco socialite Summer Tompkins Walker, the daughter of North Face and Esprit co-founder Douglas Tompkins, has lost another bruising round in her battle to claim a portion of her late father’s inheritance. The state Second District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles rejected her bid to overturn a probate court decision upholding her father’s […]…