Weekly Snapshot Issue: 16 – 15 February 2019

Case we’re reading…

When drafting Wills and estate documents, Solicitors have a duty to satisfy themselves that the client has full capacity to provide the instructions and understands the effects of a testamentary Will. The case of Haim v NSW Trustee & Guardian; Estate of Feuerring [2013] concerns a testator who had made a will in 1997 leaving his estate (after payment of any liabilities) to his sister. The Testator made a second Will in 2003 in which he gave all his property to a person whom he describes as his friend. The sister, as Plaintiff sought an order that probate of the first will be granted.

Interestingly, both Wills were drafted by the NSW Trustee & Guardian, yet the Court found that the second Will was an inofficious Will for a number of reasons including that the testator had been suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and had been admitted to psychiatric hospitals since the 1970’s. He was essentially under the care of the State for the vast majority of his adult life and thus had limited capacity. Furthermore, after extensive investigations, including the engagement of a private investigator; it was found that there was no trace of the friend and beneficiary named in the testator’s second Will. It was also found that the testator had largely been a recluse throughout his life and had often suffered from paranoid delusions about the existence of his sister.

Despite the testator having appeared to have capacity at the time of providing instructions for the second will (he for example was coherent, and provided correct answers to questions relating to his identification and assets); the Court accepted that due to his paranoid delusions, the deceased had in all probability failed to mention to the NSW Public Trustee that his closest relative was his sister, who he was intending to disinherit in favour of a friend. The Court ultimately concluded that it was unlikely that the deceased brought his sisters’ claim on his testamentary bounty to mind when making his Will.

The case stands as an excellent reminder for solicitors to make proper and full enquiries when drafting testamentary documents.

Quick Ted Lesson we’ve enjoyed…

There is no doubt the English language boasts a rich vocabulary, however as bi-lingual people, we often find ourselves stumped when trying to translate words from our mother language into English. This is rarely a reflection of our fluency and command of the English language (We lawyers are naturally skilled wordsmiths after all) but rather because often times; a translation simply doesn’t exist.

This is true of words and phrases from many languages… take for example “Sobremesa” which in Spanish refers to the conversation that takes place at the table once the meal is over… or “Shinrinyoku” which in Japanese directly translates as “bathing in the forest” but refers to the act of inhaling air in the forest  to heal one’s mind. Check out the Ted Lesson for more fascinating untranslatable words and phrases from around the world.

Exhibition we want to see…

Till now, we presumed that human fat extracted during liposuction was simply disposed of and couldn’t fathom any possible use for human blubber. Dutch artist Julian Hetzel is one of those “think outside the box” kinda people… and cleverly found a sustainable solution for up-cycling the excesses of the West to benefit third world problems… confused and grossed out?..

Simply put…donated fat from liposuction is converted into soap and the sale proceeds are sent to the Democratic Republic of Congo to build wells. For each soap sold, one is also donated.

If you’re in Adelaide during 1 – 17 March, check out this intriguing exhibition; Schuldfabrik

Under-acknowledged figure we’re fascinated by…

So this week we’ve learn that the world’s first known author was a woman who lived in the 23rd century BCE in ancient Mesopotamia named Enheduanna. It is no secret that women can multi-task and this woman was certainly a triple threat – she was a Princess, worked as a high Priestess at the temple of the moon-deity Nanna-Suen in Ur (modern day southern Iraq) as well as being an accomplished author and poet.

What is fascinating is that her work was not just full of flowery praise to the Gods but her descriptions of stellar measurements and movements have been described as possible early scientific observations also. Hit up Google for more info on this power house of a woman.

Quote we’re pondering:

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for”

–        Epicurus.

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