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Last minute leads to disappointment

It is bound to be difficult to make a valid Will in hospital when the will-maker is dying.  The lesson from a recent Queensland case is “don’t leave things to the last minute” because of the risks involved.  In Li v Choi & Ors [2020] QCA 131 a Will maker was terminally ill and at hospital.  He needed an interpreter.  He was a Chinese National with substantial investments in Queensland.  A solicitor was called in urgently to make a Will for him.  She drafted the Will on her computer whilst she was driven to the hospital. The solicitor was told through an interpreter that the will-maker wanted to leave his estate to his 2 daughters and 2 sisters but had “not yet decided” in what proportions. He asked for these words to be included and he expressed the hope that the beneficiaries would be able to agree with each other. The solicitor drafting the Will advised it would not be possible to leave it “undecided“.  After further discussion, the word “equally” was struck out from the Will and initialled by the Will-maker.   On the evidence, the trial judge found he did not understand that deleting this word would not make any difference to the requirement to equally distribute between the beneficiaries.  The trial Judge therefore found that in those circumstances the Will-maker did not understand or approve the contents of the Will as drafted and that as a consequence the Will was invalid and he died without a Will.   Presumably, therefore, the sisters missed out.

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation

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