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Written by Ellen Pacelli 

This is a true (and tragic) case study. One of many that I have come across during my time practicing in Wills and Estates.

 

Envision you met the man of your dreams and after three years of wonderful courtship, he proposes in front of the Opera House and you immediately say “YES!”

 

Over the next year, you and your dream man plan this wonderful wedding with all the bells and whistles. During this time you also purchase your first home together.

 

The week before your wedding, you and your partner hold a combined hens and bucks party in your new matrimonial home. While setting up for your big reveal party, your partner calls out and says “baby! I am going to get ice and the platters, see you soon, love you!” You then smile and return with “love you more baby!” Your partner then hops in your car and drives away with his best man in the passenger seat. 

 

While starting to greet guests into your new home, you realise that it has been over an hour and half and your partner and his best man have not yet returned. 

 

You then call your partner and his phone is turned off. You then call the best man and he does not answer. Thirty minutes later, your best man and beloved best friend of your partner comes to the door drenched in sweat and tears with the police. You only assume the worst and fall to your knees and cry hysterically. 

 

You are then conveyed to your local hospital, where you see your beloved, lifeless. His parents are there with you, crying uncontrollably with you. You find out that a drunk driver, three times over the limit collided with your partner, after he had dropped his best man off to collect the platters. 

 

The doctors then ask you the questions that no one wants to hear. “Do you wish to donate his organs?” or “do you wish for us to retrieve sperm” – things that no young woman should face are being dealt with in that very moment. 

 

Sadly, death does not discriminate. It touches people young and old, yet as a young person you never think that it will affect you.

 

So the question is, what will now happen to this poor lady? 

 

How does she deal with the funeral, who deals with the funeral, who pays for the funeral, where will he be buried, will he be buried, will he be cremated, do you donate his organs, who is going to deal with the car insurance, who is going to deal with the wedding cancellation, who is going to deal with his accounts, our accounts, his phone, his internet, his motorbike, his superannuation, what about the mortgage and the house! 

 

Months after your beloved death and struggling to hold onto your home, you are made aware that your partner had a death benefit with his superannuation in excess of $400,000, which would cover most of your mortgage. But then, your supportive in-laws become out-laws and tell you that your beloved never loved you and he had many mistresses and their reasoning behind this is likely to prove that you were not in a relationship with the deceased and for them to collect the entire superannuation payout. 

 

What do you do then?

 

Both Malcolm and I have dealt with horrific matters like this. While it sounds like a horror story, scenario such as these do really happen. This is why estate planning is vital. 

 

Contact us today on 1800 770 780 or email us at ohl@owenhodge.com.au to book an appointment so you can avoid this tragic situation.

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