find the latest legal job
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Insurance Lawyer (1 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Great Career Opportunity ·
View details
Insurance and Health Lawyer (1-4 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· New position to support Growth ·
View details
Boat mystery prompts calls to reform to Qld estate laws

Boat mystery prompts calls to reform to Qld estate laws

Four years after a woman mysteriously disappeared from a boat while travelling overseas, an estate lawyer is shining a light on a “grey area” of estate law in Queensland.

According to estate litigation lawyer Charlie Young, Queensland laws do not adequately cover the fate of a missing person’s assets. The Bennett & Philp senior associate is calling for a change to the state law that requires a person to be missing for seven years before they can be legally presumed dead.

“That is a long time to wait for the family involved and it can be very difficult for the family to manage the person’s affairs during that time.

“Family members of missing persons, often experiencing significant pain and distress, soon come to realise that they are not legally entitled to manage their loved one’s affairs if no attorney has been appointed. Reform would make things much easier for the family,” Mr Young said.

The Brisbane lawyer is using the tragic experience of one of his clients to bring attention to his call for Queensland’s estate laws to be aligned with legislative provisions in NSW and Victoria.

In 2014 Mr Young represented the brother of a woman who disappeared in 2012 before the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Two years from the time of the woman’s disappearance, the tribunal made the decision to give her partner a condition to exercise an enduring power of attorney.

Mr Young’s client had hoped to appoint a public trustee as the sole administrator for his sister’s estate.

“She vanished off her yacht in the middle of the night while overseas. There were no witnesses. Her body has never been found. It was unlikely now her disappearance would ever be resolved,” Mr Young said. 

“Victoria and NSW have legislation allowing for the appointment of someone to manage the assets of missing persons. Queensland legislation does not specifically address what can or should happen with a missing person’s assets or financial affairs.

“It is overdue for Queensland to implement something similar, and it’s frustrating that two years have passed since the need for change became apparent and nothing has been done yet,” Mr Young said.

He argued that while many reported missing persons are found, Queensland has no law to safeguard the protection and administration of their estates while they are missing.

Unless a missing person has taken steps to appoint a power of attorney before their disappearance, the protections afforded to their estate in Queensland are ambiguous, Mr Young added.

“Nobody seems to be actively investigating [the disappearance] now. As the place of her disappearance has not been verified, there appears to be an unresolved issue as to which country has jurisdiction of the matter and whether it is even something Queensland police can or should investigate,” he said.

Canada, England and parts of the US also have legislation to deal with the estates of missing persons.  

The names of those involved in the missing person’s estate matter have not been disclosed for legal reasons.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Boat mystery prompts calls to reform to Qld estate laws
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Quentin Bryce
DV has worsened in a generation: Quentin Bryce
Former governor-general of Australia Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO has spoken of her deep distress about...
Academics entertain the idea of law without lawyers
Researchers from Queensland will explore some of the most disruptive trends tipped to transform the ...
Please, Continue (Hamlet), Melbourne Festival
Oct 16 2017
Hamlet suffers slings and arrows of top Victorian barristers
Victorian judges and barristers have performed the unique play Please, Continue (Hamlet) at the Melb...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...