By not implementing a proper estate plan, a man had to give $150,000 of his dead father’s estate to his ex-wife!


Effective Estate Planning is something that multiple generations of your family need to do as a group.


Affordable action can be taken to protect you and your family from future disputes with spouses, banks and the Australian Taxation Office.  

By not implementing a proper estate plan including a Will with a Testamentary Trust, a divorced man had to give $150,000 of his dead father’s assets to his ex-wife!  This is a decision of the Family Court in July 2017!

The marriage lasted a little over 8 years.  The parties didn’t take action to finalise a property settlement until 5 years after separation.  It is likely their focus was on providing a stable environment for their child – as they continued to share parenting.

The Key Dates

Married February 2002
Separated April 2010
Divorced August 2011
Husband received dad’s inheritance January 2014
Wife commenced court case January 2015
Trial November 2016

At the date of the trial:

– the value of the matrimonial assets $910,000
– the value of the husband’s inheritance $430,000
Total $1,340,000

What the ex-wife wanted (the ex-wife gets!)

The ex-wife wanted the assets of her dead former father-in-law included in the matrimonial assets.

The Magistrates Court agreed with the wife.

The husband appealed.

The Full Court of the Family Court agreed with the wife (this is the established law).

The husband had to hand over 35% of his dead father’s assets to his ex-wife.


Could this have been avoided?

  1. The Husband could have arranged a Binding Financial Agreement or Court Order in 2010/11.
  2. The Husband’s father could have prepared a Will containing a Testamentary Trust (as long as he had mental capacity).

It’s your choice

The choice is yours – do you take action or do you take your chances!!

As Australians love to gamble, perhaps it’s no great surprise that most people choose to take their chances!!

Did you hear about the gambling company that lost all its money to successful gamblers and filed for liquidation?  No, neither did I !!

When a relationship ends, every spouse is entitled to a fair share of their matrimonial assets.

It’s your (& your parents) choice whether you want your former spouse to take a share of your parent’s lifetime of work!!

If you don’t take action when you can, don’t be surprised if your former spouse takes action when he or she can.  They will find a lawyer who will gladly help – after all, it is the law for whoever wants to take advantage of it.

Final Comment

Effective Estate Planning is not something that you do on your own.

Effective Estate Planning is something that multiple generations of families need to do as a group.

A family needs to do whatever it can to protect all the generations.  Protection involves planning for the future.

Affordable action can be taken now to protect you and your family, who may in the future become involved in disputes with their spouses, or with banks or the Australian Taxation Office.  


Disclaimer: The above is to be considered as general education. This is not advice and it is not to be acted upon without advice from a qualified professional who understands your personal circumstances.

Copyright © 2017 Wockner Lawyers. All Rights Reserved. Contact Wockner Lawyers – [email protected]. This article may not be used without the prior written consent from the author. See below for more details…

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