Jason had suffered from anxiety and depression since his early teens. Counseling and sessions with psychologists never seemed to help in the long term. The doctors never seemed to come up with the right combination of drugs to treat both his depression and his anxiety conditions at the same time.

When younger, he had tried self-medicating with alcohol, but that led him to become an alcoholic, saved in the end by Alcoholics Anonymous. He also tried hard drugs and became an addict, saved only by hospitalisation and a long term stay at a private drug rehabilitation centre. With the assistance of his parents and his doctors, he eventually qualified for a disability support pension.

His parents were sympathetic and supportive, helping him financially through long periods of unemployment and casual employment, paying for his treatment, and helping him through bouts of deep depression. The family home was always open and welcoming.

His older sister was jealous of Jason’s close relationship with his parents and all the money they spent on supporting him for over 40 years. Enjoying a successful career and marriage herself, she regarded Jason as a useless “ no hoper”. Brother and sister had not spoken more than a few words for a couple of decades when their parents’ health began to fail.

The last of Jason’s parents to die was his mother. Without her financial support, he immediately struggled to cope with government benefits alone. His grief over his mother’s death combined toxically with his chronic depression. Suicidal thoughts came on like a siren song. Two close friends and Ellen, a caring cousin, went on suicide watch and were rewarded when Jason finally emerged from a dark and deep hole.

Jason’s cousin took an interest in his financial situation. Spending her own money on her own lawyer, Ellen discovered that Jason’s mother had made a Will that left him the bulk of her property. Her estate mainly consisted of her home and a large share portfolio, about $2million in total.

But there was a problem with the Will because it was homemade and not properly witnessed. Cousin Ellen discovered that Jason’s older sister had obtained a Grant of Probate of an earlier Will, made long ago when Jason was still a recovering addict. The earlier Will left Jason’s sister in charge of Jason’s half-share as Trustee. The Will apparently gave her total power over if and when to provide Jason with money.

By the time Ellen had worked all this out, she was a couple of thousand dollars poorer. She contacted Jason’s sister and was told to mind her own business. Letters from her lawyers went unanswered. Eighteen months after his mother’s death (and over a year after Jason’s sister had probated the old Will) Jason had still not received a cent.

Ellen’s lawyers recommended Court action as the only alternative, but they could not guarantee success and the fee estimates they provided were beyond Ellen’s reach, much less Jason’s. It was then that Ellen’s husband suggested looking for a litigation lender.

Can Jason act on his own or does he need Ellen to be his litigation guardian?

Can the later Will be probated despite the lack of formal witnesses?

Can Jason’s sister be removed as executor of the old Will?

Can Jason bring a claim on the old Will despite the expiration of the limitation period?  Should he?

This is a sample case we have supplied to our litigation funding partners and features on one of their websites

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