Zivana has a complex question for estate planning expert Rod Cunich, one that is further complicated by the length of time that has passed since her father made his Will.
My father came to Australia in 1937 with the intention of bringing his wife, my brother and I soon after his arrival. At that time I was a one-year-old and my brother was four.
Because of the war, my mother and I did not join him for 17 years. My brother stayed behind and, with our father’s help, studied law for six years, and although he did not pass, he joined us in Australia in 1960.
My father and brother made money building shops and offices. When my mother and I arrived, he bought 2.5 acres of land in his and my mother’s names. My brother developed the land into blocks and sold them.
My father, now deceased, made his Will in 1964 and on my mother’s insistence, left everything in my brother’s name, assuming he would look after her and me.
Is it too late to do anything?
A: Your story suggests that your brother’s conduct might have been open to challenge by your mother and perhaps you. Whether the passing of time has left you without remedy is impossible to tell from the information you have provided. There are just too many variables.
You need someone to thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding your father’s will and your mother’s Will; and the likely prospect of any claim against your brother.
I recommend you engage a lawyer who specialises in the field of estates and trusts to urgently provide advice that is detailed and specific.
There may be remedies available, but the passing of time may have made it impossible to exercise your rights. Leaving things until your brother dies would be unadvisable.
Disclaimer: This information has been provided by Rod Cunich and should be considered general in nature. Seek legal advice before acting on this information.
Rod Cunich is a lawyer with more than 30 years’ experience in estate planning. If you have a question for Rod, simply email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
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