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A will + a lottery win + a death in Queensland = Estate dispute

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Mr Szanto lived in Queensland. He was a keen investor in lottery tickets. On 8 February 2010 he bought a lottery ticket. On 13 February 2010, his numbers came up and his ticket won $1,818,181.82. Unfortunately Mr Szanto died the next day.

Mr Szanto was survived by 4 children. His will left:

  1. the furniture and chattels in his house to his daughter Christina. He had previously transferred the house into her name; and
  2. the rest of his estate equally to his other 3 children, Margie, Alexander and Stephen.

The winning lottery ticket was found in the house. Christina argued that she was entitled to the lottery win because she had been left the contents of the house.

The court held that the clause bequeathing everything in his house (where the lottery ticket was found) to Christina, did not apply. The court found that the rights which the deceased obtained upon the lottery ticket becoming a winning ticket formed part of the residuary estate.

However, that is not the end of the matter. The son Stephen has issued separate court proceedings claiming that the deceased acquired the ticket on behalf of himself and Stephen. That issue remains to be determined by the court.

For assistance with your will, the administration of a deceased estate or an estate dispute, please contact one of our Wills and Estates lawyers.

Author: Paul Watkins, Accredited Wills and Estates Specialist

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