Artie’s will tackles language barrier (AU)

What’s in a word?

A lot apparently, if it’s in a legal document.

The last will and testament of Queensland rugby league immortal Arthur Henry Beetson was the subject of a very short court application this morning in the Brisbane Supreme Court.

Acting for the Queensland Law Group, Caite Brewer told Justice Peter Lyons that Mr Beetson, who died on December 1 last year at Paradise Point on the Gold Coast, had left two wills, both dated and signed on June 13, 2000.

Both wills were created from two homemade will kits, had been witnessed by the same two people, both name the same executor and both left his estate equally to the same six beneficiaries.

The problem, at least from a legal sense, was the wording of the will forms.

While one used old English the second was written in plain English – it amounts to the difference between hereby and do, forthwith and will.

When Mr Beetson, then living in Matraville in New South Wales, handed both wills to his solicitor and executor, James Hall, the solicitor assumed he was being given the will and a copy of the will.

The challenge for the executor was to find which will had been signed last.

But with the content of both wills exactly the same, it was impossible to determine which was signed last and why two wills were made.

Instead, Justice Lyons ruled both wills were to be read as one document.


Artie’s will tackles language barrier
Amy Remeikis
October 16, 2012

Additional coverage:

Anomaly sees Beetson’s will in court
Emmaline Stigwood
October 16, 2012

MINOR differences in the wording of two wills signed by rugby league immortal Arthur Beetson has ended up in court.

Lawyers for the executors of Mr Beetson’s estate this morning made a brief appearance in the Supreme Court in Brisbane to sort out the anomaly.

Beetson died unexpectedly of a heart attack while cycling around Paradise Point on the Gold Coast in December last year leading to a public memorial after his burial and bronze statue at Suncorp Stadium.

Barrister Caite Brewer told the court the matter was not controversial, just a little complicated by the fact Beetson had signed two will forms on the same day back in June 2000.

She said while the legal effect of both documents was the same, minor differences in the wording, for example some old English being used in some parts and new English in others, meant a court order was now needed to apply for probate.

After a few minutes the court made the order noting it seemed they were just different forms of the same will kit.

No details of the will were read out.

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