Court or Tribunal: 
Catchwords: Family Trust, Wills & Probate
Judges:  French CJGummow CJHayne JHeydon JKiefel J


Background: This involved a senior Melbourne QC. Before he was married he had set up a trust, and he was the trustee and was entitled to vary the terms of the trust. The beneficiaries were himself, his siblings, their children and their spouses. By two amendments, both the husband and the wife were excluded from the list of beneficiaries. The last amendment was effected at a time when the marriage was in trouble. The husband as trustee subsequently moved several million dollars from the trust to their children and to trusts for the children. 
 
  [Legal Issue]The existence of a family trust has caused difficulties in Family Law property disputes, because if, say, the husband is a beneficiary under a trust, he does not actually own anything until a distribution is decided upon. The Family Court's power is to deal with "property", and so there were real doubts about the court's ability to make orders about a possible entitlement under a trust.   [Court Orders]The legal ramifications with family trusts as a result of Kennon and Spry suggests that a family trust is not intended to be used to disadvantage a spouse following a marriage breakdown. The use of s.106B, s.85A are powerful weapons and when you weave in submissions concerning the right of due administration and due consideration these make it very difficult to exclude a spouse from some entitlement under a trust. However we may not have heard the end of the case as questions of enforcement      


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Court or Tribunal: 
Catchwords: Estate Planning, Estoppel by Conduct, Family Provision, Family Provision, Family Trust, Family Trust, High Value Estates, Large Estate, Requirement of Adequate Maintenance, Succession, Succession, Wills
Judges:  Martin J


Background: Steven Darveniza, the eldest son of Bojan Darveniza, took his father’s widow to the Supreme Court to get a share of the estate, claiming he had worked for his father for many years. Bojan Darveniza died in 2010, aged 78, leaving most of his estate to his second wife, Xiao Hong Darveniza, now known as Jane, who was 30 years younger than him. Multi-millionaire Bojan Darveniza was a hardworking, astute investor with a talent for turning run-down properties into rental goldmines, amassing a fortune. But to his older children, Bojan was a tyrant who ruled them with an iron rod, making them work hard in the family business after school and on weekends. Bojan had eight children – Steven and Tania with first wife Lindsay; Natasha, Jonathon and Andrea with his ex-housekeeper de fact 
 
  [Legal Issue]This case involves an examination of the familial and financial relationships of the Darveniza family. Steven Darveniza has brought two matters before the Court. In the first he seeks an order for provision (pursuant to s 41 of the Succession Act 1981) from the estate of his deceased father, Bojan Darveniza (“the provision claim”). In the second, he seeks declarations about, and transfers of interests in, a number of family companies (“the trust claim”). He also seeks damages pursuant to s 82 of the Trade Practices Act 1974 and consequential orders (“the company claim”).    [Court Orders]Bojan’s personal estate was worth $40 million at the time of his death, but the net value was now between $26 and $28 million, the court heard. Justice Martin said Steven deserved better provision from his father’s very large estate because he had worked long and hard for Bojan, contributing to the growth of his property interests. Two reasons for his father not providing for him in his will were misconceived or based on a misunderstanding, the judge said. He also accepted Steven co     


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