A 95-YEAR-OLD woman had been “dementing” for 24 years when she executed a new will about her $1.6 million estate in favour of a distant relative, a civil trial in the Supreme Court of Tasmania heard.
Exton farmer Harvey Gee is taking legal action action seeking that a 2011 will take precedence over a 2006 will which left all bar $20,000 of Elsa Gee’s Relbia estate to the University of Tasmania Foundation.
Justice Michael Brett heard that Mr Gee sought that Ms Gee sign a will that left the property to the “male line” of his family via a family trust-namely his son Donald and any of Donald’s or his brother’s sons.
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During cross examination by the University Foundation’s counsel Philip Jackson, Mr Gee was asked about a conversation with Ms Gee’s GP Paula Kennedy in 2011.
Dr Kennedy had said “absolutely not ” when he asked whether she was fit enough to sign another will.
“It was a conversation which lasted about 15 seconds and she said that she [Ms Gee] had been dementing for the past 24 years,” Mr Gee said.
“She was rude, abrupt and dismissive,” Mr Gee said. He said he did not tell the solicitor making the new will, Stuart Blom, about Dr Kennedy’s opinion.
Mr Gee said that he had instead sought an assessment of another GP, Dr Maxwell, who the court heard had seen Ms Gee once.
An administration order had been applied to Ms Gee in 2010 by the Guardianship and Administration Board because she was seen as not capable of managing her affairs.
Mr Gee said that the Ms Gee, who died in 2014, had become concerned that the University would not fulfil her wishes and would instead just sell the property.
He said she wanted the property to retain the “Gee” name and that she was frustrated with a lack of communication from the University.
Mr Gee said that Ms Gee was his second cousin, three times removed. He told Mr Jackson that Ms Gee’s sister Aileen Cartledge would not benefit under the 2011 will.