• John Stirk

Not quite a will

For 20 years, readers of the Centralian Advocate looked forward to the Friday edition. Therein Povey Stirk Lawyers published a 300 word tale of fiction based on legally newsworthy events.

The following is a sample of these blogs


7 December 2018


Fred and Wilma had been friends with Betty and Barney for over 20 years. Their children had grown up together. However, Betty decided that her relationship with Barney had run its course and had decided to relocate to Coffin Bay. Their respective lawyers had finalised a division of their property by way of a Binding Financial Agreement.


Barney continued to work in Alice Springs at the quarry. Their two children were apprentices and continued to live in the house which Barney had retained under the Binding Financial Agreement. Both Betty and Barney had talked about getting a divorce but neither thought there was any need to do so in a hurry.


Tragically, Barney was killed when an explosion in the quarry went terribly wrong. Barney had never got around to getting his lawyer to finalise a Will. He had told his children that they would inherit the house if anything ever happened to him. Barney’s children were somewhat surprised that Betty was entitled to inherit the house notwithstanding the Binding Financial Agreement had only been finalised nine months earlier. Betty decided to sell the house so she could purchase a superior shack at Coffin Bay. The children were not happy.


Fred and Wilma told Betty that her children were more deserving than she was and that she was double-dipping as she had received a fair division of property in the Binding Financial Agreement. Betty said her legal advice was that she was legally entitled to the house and Barney should have arranged for a Will after the separation.


In the absence of a Will, the Administration and Probate Act provides for a distribution of property. As Betty and Barney had never divorced, she was still his wife and entitled notwithstanding the Binding Financial Agreement.


To eliminate unforeseen circumstances, a current Will is the best solution to avoiding family disputes.

Disclaimer: This document provides general information and is not legal advice. While we endeavour to ensure the information is correct at the date of publication, laws frequently change. If anything in this post is relevant to you, please contact us for advice on your specific situation