A sad story

NZPA report:

The estranged parents of slain undercover policeman Don Wilkinson are locked in a bitter dispute over their son’s “slapdash” will and $2 million fortune, according to a story to be published in North and South magazine today.

Mr Wilkinson, who was fatally shot during a night-time police surveillance operation in Mangere in September 2008, left his adoptive father, Ron Wilkinson, all his assets, including a $900,000 property in Helensville, northwest of Auckland, $70,000 in cash, some investments and a six-figure payment from police insurance and superannuation, the magazine as reported by The New Zealand Herald said.

Mr Wilkinson wrote the will in 1985 before going to work in Antarctica.

At the time, his assets were two guitars and a second-hand car.

His mother Bev Lawrie said she was close to her son and he would be horrified that she was left with nothing.

One lesson is to make sure you keep your will up to date.

The Stuff version of the NZPA story misses the key aspect, merely reporting:

Under the Family Protection Act, potential claimants have 12 months after a will is probated to bring a claim.

The Herald version includes:

Lawyers say nothing can be done now. Under the Family Protection Act, potential claimants have 12 months after a will is probated to bring a claim.

But Ms Lawrie said she spent the year after her son’s death trying to survive – mourning him, weathering publicity and dealing with the killer’s arrest.

It is very sad that no one advised Ms Lawrie of the absolute importance of that 12 month deadline, as it sounds like she had an excellent chance of gaining half the estate.

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