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Australian court rules on AU$1m ‘will’ written on beer carton

A court in Australia has ruled on how to divide a deceased man’s estate worth AU$1 million after part of his ‘will’ was scrawled on a beer carton.

(Photo: iStock)

Lindsay Bruce Olive died suddenly in November at the age of 69, leaving behind an estate worth AU$1 million.

Olive, from Brisbane, had written a formal will in May 2019 which divided the sum between his children and stepchildren, but told friends and neighbours he wanted to change it.

The only problem is, his latest ‘will’ was written on scraps of paper, including a coaster and part of an old beer carton. Olive was due to meet with passed away before making any formal changes.

Olive’s friend and executor, Cara Lockyer, told the Supreme Court he used “any old bits of paper to write notes on.”

The court heard he had scribbled names, numbers and notes on a piece of cardboard from inside a beer carton, as well as a coaster, and left the notes on his pool table. The coaster also included a series of names and numbers, with ticks next to some names, and phrases such as “has enough” and “doesn’t deserve it”, beside others.

Lockyer’s lawyer told the court that “executers have strict duties to administer an estate in accordance with the testator’s wishes.”

Olive’s May 2019 will divided his estate between two of his children, three stepchildren, and two grandchildren, reports The West.

He had also left $20,000 to Lockyer, however, the executor said Oliver had told her he “intended to write a new will, to provide for his friends, and leave his children and stepchildren out.”

But the counsel for Olive’s daughter argued against counting three scraps of paper being recognised as his final will.

On Monday 30 March, Justice Helen Bowskill rejected the informal documents, and ordered that probate of the May 3, 2019 will be granted.

Acting for the executor, barrister Caite Brewer said: “In these uncertain times you should see a solicitor sooner rather than later, given the difficulties there are with lockdown a real possibility in coming days.”

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