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What you promise to others whilst you are alive….may well be binding when you die…….

What you promise to others whilst you are alive….may well be binding when you die…….

By Stephen Lucas


Caring friends succeed in claiming house from Moonee Ponds neighbour’s estate.

Victoria’s Court of Appeal, the highest Court in the State, has today held that two caring neighbours should be allowed to keep their neighbours’ property which had been promised to them by their neighbours for years in exchange for them looking after them as they got older.

In 1974 Colin Turner was aged 64 and his wife Margaret was aged 58. They had no children and lived in a house in Moonee Ponds which they owned. They also owned the house next door. A young couple from the local Club called Ian and Beth Graham were aged 31 and 28. They met the Turners at the club one night over dinner. The Grahams lived in a rented one bedroom flat in Essendon. At the Club the Turner’s asked the Grahams if they would like to enter into a deal where they would be permitted to live in the Turner’s house next door to them if they agreed to care for the Turners into their old age. They were told they could keep the house when the oldies’ died. The Graham’s accepted the deal and they moved in next door to the older couple. The years went by and the Grahams provided loving care to the Turners as they got older for more than 30 years. The Turner’s both died in the early 2000’s and to the shock of the Grahams the Turners had actually left their house to a local hospital in their Wills.

The Grahams sought legal advice but were told they did not have a prayer as there was “nothing in writing”. They then brought a case in the County Court arguing breach of trust and this was successful on the basis of the promises which had been made to them. The Executors of the Turner’s estate appealed the outcome twice but today our full court has dismissed the appeal. The message is, if you make promises to people while you are alive, and those people rely upon those promises, and then you die…

there will be implications….

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1 Comment

  1. Louise Lucas
    December 6, 2017

    Wow fascinating story!

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