Recently, businessman Geoffrey Edelsten left his only child just over $50,000 out of an estate worth over $1 million. Edelsten wanted to “limit the benefit” to his son as he was provided with substantial financial disclosure, regardless of there being limited contact between the father and son.
Edelsten’s Will also specifies that he left nothing to two of his ex-wives as he provided for them “substantially” and “excessively” during these marriages.
Surprisingly, Edelsten is said to have left a string of debts regardless of making $100 million after selling his chain of GP clinics. He was a man known for flaunting his lavish lifestyle, and regardless of making a series of disastrous financial decisions which left him bankrupt, he continued to take loans to maintain this wealthy lifestyle.
His final Will however has revealed the dire financial circumstances he was in prior to his death, finding that $998,614 of his $1 million estate was a private loan, with only just over $60,000 in his bank accounts. Creditors are now attempting to challenge Edelsten’s will in order to recoup millions of dollars in debt.
Ultimately, Edelsten’s case shows how enforceable Wills can be, and how important it is that you have one in order to ensure your estate is distributed as to your wishes. There are two avenues through which property can be distributed after a person’s death:
- If there is a Will: The estate will be distributed pursuant to the provisions of the Will, if the Will was validly executed; or
- If there is no Will: The estate will be distributed pursuant to intestacy laws. Intestacy applies when a person has died without leaving a Will, or they otherwise fail to dispose of all of their property. Chapter 4 of the Succession Act 2006 (NSW) outlines the order of priority with regard to this distribution.
If you or someone you know wish to retain our services in assisting you to make your Wills, then please contact our experienced solicitors at 02 8999 9809 for assistance.