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How Equity Trustees ensured one estate planning client’s final wishes were fulfilled. 

Death is one of life’s great certainties and, while you can prepare practically and financially, no one can predict the circumstances surrounding the end. 

Liam Quinn* was a healthy man in his 70s who immigrated to Australia from Ireland in his younger years and later settled in a NSW regional town. During his life, Quinn never married or had children.

Bonded to both Australia and Ireland, Quinn had always made it known that when he passed, he wanted to receive a traditional Irish wake in his house, surrounded by his friends. He also asked for his body to be cremated and his ashes sent back to Ireland, so he could be laid to rest beside his parents on Gaelic soil.

Sadly, Quinn died in a house fire when his treasured home burned down. 

“It was extremely sudden and unexpected,” Equity Trustees, National Manager of Estates Teghan Rawson says. 

When Quinn passed, there was no family in Australia to manage his affairs. 

“As he had been an estate planning client of Equity Trustees for many years, we were able to step in from a really early stage and become a contact point for the authorities and insurance company.”

Quinn updated his will within two years before his death and he left detailed funeral and cremation wishes. However, Quinn’s property was badly damaged in the fire so his friends couldn’t hold his wake there. A venue needed to be hired instead. 

“His friend was really keen to make sure his wishes were carried out but was also really stressed about what that might mean for her financially. We were able to access the skills of our legal team to advance funds from his estate to enable his wishes to be met in these exceptional circumstances.”

Equity Trustees also arranged for Quinn’s ashes to be received initially by an undertaker who lived near his sister in Ireland. 

“When Quinn’s time came, we had the skills and internal expertise to ensure that his funeral and cremation requests were met in a timely manner.” 

Rawson believes that although the circumstances behind Quinn’s death were tragic and rare, there are a few key learnings that apply to us all. 

“Have the necessary discussions detailing your wishes early on and make sure they are recorded. Also, if you aren’t married, have a partner, children or someone who you’re close to who will be around to make sure your wishes are carried out after you die – engaging the expertise of a trustee company like Equity Trustees is a great option. 

“We will always be there for you. You can have peace of mind that when the time comes, your wishes will be carried out.”

* Name changed to ensure privacy.