Supreme Court rules on Betty Dyke's $15m will battle
By Norrie Ross February 27, 2009 TWO couples who inherited a share in the $15 million will of an elderly spinster today won a Supreme Court battle to keep the money.
The dispute centred on wills that left the bulk of her estate equally to Tim and Denise Knaggs, Robert and Sandra Allen, and Gary and Diane Smith.
Millionaire Ms Dyke changed her will in favour of her neighbours at a time when she was sharing one room of a run-down fibro farmhouse with chickens and had no inside toilet.
Justice Vickery ruled that a 1999 will made by Ms Dyke was valid apart from her decision to leave a portion to Tim Knaggs.
The judge ruled that the clause in the will that left $5 million jointly to Mr and Mrs Knaggs should be overturned and that Mrs Knaggs is entitled to the entire sum in her own right.
This reflected the true wishes of Ms Dyke, he said.
Justice Vickery said the inclusion of Mr Knaggs in the will was “inconsistent with her long-held dislike of him”.
At the time the will was made Ms Dyke was heavily dependent on Mrs Knaggs and because of this she fell under the influence of the couple.
“The influence became undue when both Denise Knaggs and Tim Knaggs became involved in the preparation of Betty Dyke’s 1999 will,” the judge said.
“The inclusion of Mr Knaggs as a beneficiary resulted directly from a telephone call made by Denise Knaggs to Betty Dyke’s solicitor a few days before she (Ms Dyke) signed the will.”
The judge found that the Allens and the Smiths did not engage in any conduct amounting to undue influence on Ms Dyke.
By Norrie Ross
February 27, 2009
TWO couples who inherited a share in the $15 million will of an elderly spinster today won a Supreme Court battle to keep the money.The husband in a third couple was excluded from his share of Betty Dyke’s after Justice Peter Vickery ruled that the old lady was subjected to “undue influence” in his case.