The circumstances were enough to make anyone suspicious.

Despite a previous will in 2001 leaving everything to her husband and, if he died before her then to each of his five nephews in equal shares, Nadia’s more recent will left everything to a woman whom she described as ‘my daughter Georgette’ even though they were totally unrelated.

While this alone might have been enough to raise questions about the validity of the will, the circumstances under which the will came to be created were remarkable.

Close-up portrait of brunette woman with distrustful expression in her face. Soft focus.
[url=file_closeup.php?id=18664607][img]file_thumbview_approve.php?size=1&id=18664607[/img][/url] [url=file_closeup.php?id=11758478][img]file_thumbview_approve.php?size=1&id=11758478[/img][/url] [url=file_closeup.php?id=11968214][img]file_thumbview_approve.php?size=1&id=11968214[/img][/url] [url=file_closeup.php?id=18911841][img]file_thumbview_approve.php?size=1&id=18911841[/img][/url] [url=file_closeup.php?id=11758727][img]file_thumbview_approve.php?size=1&id=11758727[/img][/url] [url=file_closeup.php?id=20264979][img]file_thumbview_approve.php?size=1&id=20264979[/img][/url]

Nadia, the testatrix (the person who made the will) was in the final stages of metastasised breast cancer and had been released from palliative care in December 2014.  She was then taken by Georgette and Georgette’s son to a lawyer who had never met Nadia.  The lawyer had already written up the will as well as a power of attorney in favour of Georgette based on lies that Georgette’s son had told the lawyer which Georgette knew about.  These included the lie that Georgette was Nadia’s daughter.

Nadia died on 2 April 2015.

Shortly after the will and power of attorney were signed by Nadia, Georgette transferred Nadia’s home, which was valued at around $725,000.00, into her own name for only $1.00.  Following that, and just three days before Nadia’s death, Georgette withdrew over $17,000.00 from Nadia’s bank account by way of a bank cheque in favour of her son, leaving a balance of 92 cents.  The explanation for this was that the funds were used to pay for Nadia’s funeral, although the Court noted there was no explanation as to why the cheque was in favour of her son and why the funds had been taken before Nadia had died.

When the nephews challenged the will, the Court had to investigate whether Nadia had ‘testamentary capacity’ meaning that she knew and approved of the will that she signed.  This involved hearing evidence from various people who had dealings with Nadia at around that time, including a friend and her medical specialists.

While Nadia was undergoing treatment for her cancer Georgette regularly accompanied her to medical appointments and took Nadia into her own home.  The Court said that such conduct is ordinarily laudable, but in this case had to be assessed against the fact that Nadia’s oldest friend was kept away from her (even from her funeral) by being falsely told that Nadia didn’t want to see her, along with the transactions that Georgette and her son entered into on Nadia’s behalf.

The medical evidence was clear that around the time that she signed the Will, Nadia was in great pain.  She was having chemotherapy every three weeks and was also suffering sciatica and a shoulder injury following a fall.  The will was executed on 12 December 2014, just a week after she had been discharged from hospital.  There was evidence that in December 2014 there were metastases (or secondary cancerous growths) in her brain.  Although she was taking painkilling prescription drugs throughout this time, the Court found that the evidence showed these did not impair her cognitive functions but nevertheless, her alertness was declining.

The Judge who first heard the case regarded Georgette and her son as unreliable, saying that Georgette was ‘prepared to invent evidence to improve her case.’

Nadia’s friend Mary, who had been kept away from Nadia in her last months, gave evidence that Nadia would say to her that the house was for Raghib’s (her husband’s) nephews.  Even in late 2014 Nadia said to her, “I leave all my money and house to my nephews.”  When Nadia was diagnosed with cancer, and around the time that the will was signed, Nadia would say to Mary, “I start to forget things, my mind no very good,” and, “I can’t think straight Mary.”

Nadia’s radiation oncologist gave evidence that when she was in hospital in the first week of December 2014 Nadia showed no signs of confusion.  Nadia had been prescribed an opiate pain relieving drug but the oncologist said that would not usually affect a person’s ability to make decisions.  On the other hand, the brain metastases could cause changes to personality and memory although that wouldn’t necessarily be the case.

What was significant to the Court was the evidence of Nadia’s GP that on two dates in December Georgette’s son came in on Nadia’s behalf to obtain further prescriptions for pain killers and that Nadia did not attend on those occasions.  This suggested a deterioration in her condition since the doctor last saw her.

What is sufficient to dispel any doubt or suspicion regarding a will varies with the circumstances of each case.  If suspicious circumstances are established then the burden of proving that the deceased person was a ‘free and capable testator who knew and approved the contents of the Will’ falls on the party asserting that the Will should be admitted to probate.

One area that gives rise to such a suspicion is when the person who prepares the will for the testator stands to take a benefit from it.  The Courts have said that when this suspicion is created, it must be removed by the person seeking to rely on the will.

In this case, the Court thought that it was ‘bristling with suspicious circumstances’.  These included among other things the facts that:

  • Georgette’s son who lived with his mother and stood indirectly to benefit from the will was the person who gave instructions to the lawyer rather than Nadia herself;
  • That Nadia left nothing to her church when in her previous wills she had done so;
  • Georgette and her son were present when the will was made;
  • The lawyer drafting the will was told by Georgette’s son that she was Nadia’s daughter;
  • There was a sense of urgency to get the will and power of attorney executed at a single meeting.

Another important question raised by the Court was, “Why was there a need for a power of attorney in any event?”  Nadia was dying and as she was in palliative care she would never move into a retirement village.  Her home was her only substantial asset so there was no real need for her to have a power of attorney.  The only reason that the Court could think of was to be able to misuse it in the event that Nadia didn’t ‘speedily die’.

Importantly, the Court has said that proof that the will was read by or read to the testator before its execution, or that it was explained to the testator, might not be enough and it is necessary to look at the evidence as a whole.

The Court concluded that given the way in which the will came to be prepared and executed, Georgette had not established that it should be admitted to probate.  On that basis the Court ordered that Nadia’s earlier will from 2001 leaving everything to the nephews and her church was to be admitted.  The house that Georgette had transferred into her own name for one dollar was to be conveyed back to the estate.

It isn’t unusual for someone who is going to benefit from a will to assist the will maker create that will, and as this case highlights, when that happens the Court will ordinarily treat the circumstances as suspicious.  It is much better to engage a lawyer to draft the will who can not only act independently but will be in a position to give evidence to establish the genuineness of the will if it is challenged.

Mekhail v Hana; Mekail v Hana [2019] NSWCA 197





call now

*Conditions Apply


Having such a short time frame I was very impressed with the outcome made by [my solicitor]. Excellent and timely manner


Kurralta Park

Very professional mannerism and overall great outcome was delivered by Websters Lawyers.


West Ryde NSW

Helpful, explained fully, patient, excellent service.



Patient and helpful in explaining the process.



Call Websters Lawyers for a most professional and friendly service. All understanding with [my solicitors] and the reception staff. Thank you so much.



Making my will was effortless on my part, with everything explained clearly. Well done to all.



Great service, professional, explains things clearly, definitely recommend Websters Lawyers.


Upper Hermitage

Patient, professional, good communication about procedures and probable outcomes.



Thank you for all your work over the course of the case. You [both] were always very approachable and I appreciated your understanding and professionalism in all areas.


Christie Downs

All in all my experience was great. Thank you for your time and expertise.


Seacombe Gardens

My matter was dealt with efficiently and was explained in an understandable language. A pleasant experience.



Practical and very helpful. Reasons and explanations given where needed



I stumbled across Websters in the Yellow Pages and I rang, explained my situation and immediately they took my case on. Greatly appreciate their services.



The service from Websters Lawyers was outstanding. [My solicitor] was caring, had patience and was very professional. Wonderful personality.



[My solicitor] made everything so simple to understand. [The receptionist] was wicked too, would recommend them anytime. Level of entire service was outstanding.


Golden Grove


I had dealings with Websters over 20 years ago. They were my first choice when I recently needed legal advice. Both legal and office staff were professional, courteous and accessible at all times. Everything was explained up front in a clear and concise manner. I would not hesitate to recommend their services.



It has truly been a pleasure communicating with you throughout the process. I really appreciate your patient and speedy replies to my questions and requests. You were always able to provide an easily understood response and this helped me deal with the process. Your friendly and positive manner encouraged me to seek your advice.


Battery Hill QLD

[My lawyer's] service was prompt and efficient with all questions explained clearly with all our requests carried out within the laws. Overall service was very satisfactory.


Wynn Vale

[My lawyer] was excellent. 



Excellent service. Professional. Clear advice and instructions. Prompt actions. Overall 10/10!


Ingle Farm

Overall, I was happy with my outcome and my lawyer, would definitely recommend [my lawyer].



[My solicitor] was excellent at helping us through preparing our wills which were particularly challenging as they involved assets in multiple countries. She was professional and knowledgeable and spent time tailoring the wills to our needs.



[My solicitor] was very helpful, respectful and polite. She made sure I understood the process and documentation of our wills.



Professional. Smooth Transaction. 


Largs North

I found the whole experience from Receptionist to Solicitor excellent. They completely put us at our ease.



This was a new experience for us and didn’t have a clue what to do. [Our solicitor] on our first visit put us at ease, explained what will happen, pointed out there was a strong case. [Our solicitor] was genuine in her approach, kept us well informed, explained actions several times with patience and understanding. Overall very happy with the service we received.


Elizabeth Vale

[My lawyer] was very reassuring in her approach to my case. I felt that every possibility in terms of evidence to provide and possible outcomes were explained to me, The result of the case was the best possible outcome I could have expected.

David, Belair


With no previous dealing with the criminal justice system, [our solicitor] gave us excellent advice and guided us through a nightmare to achieve a just and correct outcome. [Our lawyer] was both forthright and compassionate in her handling of our case.

Malcolm, Belair

[My lawyer] explained all the legal terms in language I could understand – she was very easy to talk to.

Cameron, Munno Para

I felt confident knowing my matter was in good hands. Very professional!

Shravan, Christie Downs

Initial phone call was fantastic and the role of an executor was fully explained.

Penny, Henley Beach

The service I received was efficient and promptly finalised. The solicitor clearly explained the details and I was happy with how easy it was.

Dale, Fairview Park

[My lawyer] was exactly the lawyer I needed in a serious matter. The outcome was as predicted which was a fantastic result. I received prompt professional and personal service at all times. Capable and supportive in a very stressful period.

Jason, Munno Para West

I had any of my concerns answered to my satisfaction and understanding.

Valda, Ingle Farm

[My lawyer] is an excellent professional lawyer who assisted in achieving a great positive outcome/result. I sincerely thank you and your great staff for your assistance and guidance throughout my claim. Would highly recommend [my lawyer], staff and Websters Lawyers. Kept fully informed and guided, professionally throughout the matter.

Rena, Northgate

Our work was dealt with very efficiently and speedily. Our lawyer was very professional, at the same time as being approachable. Communication was great.

Christina, Highbury

My experience with Websters Lawyers was far beyond what I expected. From the moment I spoke to [my lawyer] she made me feel very comfortable and eased my stress. In my case I had a court appearance the day before we were scheduled to fly to Spain, Considering my first appointment with her was only 2 weeks before the court hearing, she was able to obtain the police statement and thoroughly work on my case within that limited time frame. She was very knowledgeable, understanding and confident which greatly relieved so much pressure from me and my family. At court, she explained everything thoroughly and advised me of all the possible outcomes. Price, service and result, very highly recommended. Thank you Websters Lawyers.

Rafael, Davoren Park

I have high expectations and they were met. Websters service was swift, courteous, professional and met the agreed budget. I will recommend Websters to my family, friends and colleagues. Thank you.

Peter, Forestville

I would recommend Websters Lawyers, especially for [my lawyer's] dedication and exemplary attitude and advice. She is the epitome of a good lawyer. The service was impeccable.

Pamela, West Lakes

[My lawyer] was very professional and I was made comfortable to understand.

Gregory, Penfield

I was very pleased with the end result and how well [my lawyer] conducted herself.

Sonya, Glanville

Very professional.

Jesse, Morphett Vale

[My lawyer] has been very prompt , reliable and provided a high level of communication.

Peter, Parkside

My experience at Websters was very positive. The stress was taken from me and I could not be happier with the outcome. [My lawyer] at Websters was professional, personable, available and caring. Thank you for making the experience stress free.

Magda, Holden Hill

Found my lawyer upfront and reliable – I would highly recommend Websters Lawyers.

Lee, Evanston Park


Top bunch of solicitors and admin staff. Very friendly and to the point service.

Bradley, Hallett Cove

Websters Lawyers were very professional in their service, I would be happy to recommend them.

Carole, Tea Tree Gully

We would not hesitate in recommending Websters for any legal matter. They are professional and courteous at all times and call back when they say they will.

David and Dianne, Lockleys


I fully recommend Websters Lawyers. This was the 3rd time myself & my family have used Websters Lawyers. In these stressful times we have found them to answer and guide us through the process needed to accomplish the legal requirements in a timely and courteous manner.

Dianne, Lynton

Solid, to the point, no hustle. Highly recommend.

George, Windsor Gardens

Contact us

Adelaide Office :
T: ( 08 ) 8231 1363
F: ( 08 ) 8231 5529

Ridgehaven Office :
T: ( 08 ) 8395 8000
F: ( 08 ) 8395 8222

Smithfield Office :
T: ( 08 ) 8487 0150
F: ( 08 ) 8395 8222

© Copyright WebstersLawyers.com 2017 All Rights Reserved
Website By A to Z Marketing