Equity Trustees helping your family after your gone
When a father failed to tell his son that he was leaving half his estate to other relatives, the consequences were almost disastrous, until Equity Trustees stepped in.
Jake had been living with his father, Ernie, for years, helping him pay the usual household bills and to maintain his property.
“After his father died, he just continued on his merry way," Equity Trustees' Senior Estates Manager, Jason Lamb, said. "He continued paying household expenses out of their shared bank account and continued to use the credit card of which he was a signatory on.”
With his newfound inherited wealth and credit card with a generous $50,000 limit, Jake went on a spending spree. Within six months, he had withdrawn almost $90,000 from the bank account and almost maxed out the credit card.
“He worked on the basis he was sole living son, and it was all his.”
Unfortunately for Jake, it wasn’t.
It was only when he approached the bank to close the account, that he realised they needed authorisation from Ernie's chosen executor, Equity Trustees.
Jake’s siblings had sadly passed away years before, but his sister had two children who were also named in Ernie’s will. They were meant to receive half of the estate – much of which Jake had now inadvertently spent.
The Equity Trustees team quickly sprung into action, contacting the bank about the credit card. They argued that Ernie should never have been given such a generous credit limit, given legislation requires lenders not lend more than someone can pay back.
"We managed to get the bank to write off that debt in its entirety on the basis that there wouldn't be enough in the estate left in order to actually pay it back – it would become an insolvent estate."
Equity Trustees then contacted the two grandchildren to tell them the good news.
“By getting us involved, we’ve managed to get the remaining funds to the two grandchildren who otherwise would’ve got nothing.”
It acts as a cautionary tale of what can happen when wills aren’t discussed within families. It also shows the importance of contacting the executor of an estate in a timely fashion when someone dies.
"It does unfortunately happen sometimes but as the executor, we can try to potentially unwind some of those decisions, like in this instance, to try to preserve what's remaining for the other beneficiaries."
This article and more appears in Edition 4 of Generation magazine – View this edition here and previous ones.
Names changed to protect privacy.