A legal battle over the $1.6 million will of an elderly landowner heard that a doctor who pledged her mental fitness to write a will had only met her once.
Dr Kathleen Maxwell told a trial in the civil division of the Supreme Court of Tasmania that she went to a meeting with Ms Elsa Claire Gee in June 2011.
Under cross-examination by University counsel Philip Jackson, Dr Maxwell said she had only met Ms Gee once and had not seen her since.
In other news:
Exton farmer Harvey Gee is taking legal action in a bid to have a 2011 will written by Ms Gee recognised as the legitimate will.
The 2011 will favoured Mr Gee’s family trust and the male line of his family whereas a previous will written in 2005 was in favour of the University of Tasmania Foundation.
One of the central issues of the trial is the fitness of Ms Gee to write the 2011 will.
The Trustee and Guardianship Board was appointed to oversee Ms Gee’s financial affairs in 2010 because of concerns about her mental acuity.
Mr Jackson asked Dr Maxwell if she had any idea that anybody had expressed a view that she (Ms Gee) might not be capable of making a will.
“No,” Dr Maxwell replied.
“If you had known would you have made any inquiries before seeing Ms Gee?” he asked.
“No, I wanted to make up my own mind.”
Dr Maxwell said that the meeting about the writing of a new will took a dramatic turn.
“In the course of my observing Elsa Gee a woman burst into the room, suddenly the door swung back,” she said.
“I found her behaviour quite inappropriate, she tried to say that Ms Gee had rung her and that is why she had come.
“But we had been with Ms Gee and she had not rung.”
Mr Jackson asked Dr Maxwell if she knew who the woman was.
“I understood that it was a niece [Ms Rattray] living in a house on the property,” Dr Maxwell said.
Mr Jackson asked Dr Maxwell if she had made any enquiry of Ms Rattray about her care for Ms Gee.
“No, the problem with Ms Rattray was that even when told she did not leave the room, she stayed on an on,” Dr Maxwell said.
Ms Gee’s friend, Rory Hargreaves, said that the 2005 will in favour of the University was made because Ms Gee valued education, her mother was a school teacher and she had lots of books.
But her feeling about the 2005 will changed when University staff member Graeme Foster told her he could not guarantee that the Relbia farm would not be sold.
“That information upset Ms Gee,” Mrs Hargreaves said.
“She always wanted it as a working farm, she promised her mother she would not sell it.”.
The trial continues.