Battle over Hancock estate to go to court

Published 25 Sep 2013

It’s a story decades in the making.

When Australian mining magnate Lang Hancock passed away in 1992, he left billions of dollars and his iron ore empire to his family, which eventually made his daughter Gina Rinehart the richest person in the country.

Fast forward to today, and John Hancock, Mrs Rinehart’s son, is filing one of the most highly anticipated contesting willscases in years. Hancock claims that it was his grandfather’s last wish for his grandson to one day run the company. He also asserts that by challenging his mother’s piece of the estate, he is honouring his grandfather’s dying wish.

The feud started when Mr Hancock and his sister Bianca got in touch with contesting wills lawyers to learn how they could remove their mother as a trustee from the will. The two siblings claimed their mother acted inappropriately in handling the Hope Margaret Hancock Trust.

Now, Mrs Rinehart is set to appear in court in October, where Mr Hancock and his sister will challenge the will.

‘My grandfather would be greatly troubled’

In an interview with the Brisbane Times’ Business Day publication, Mr Hancock outlined why he plans to take his mother to court. To him, it’s about more than power and money – it’s about doing what he believes his grandfather would have wanted.

“We want to see our grandfather’s wishes honoured. He did not want Gina to have everything or for her to dictate our lives. My grandfather would be greatly troubled,” he stated.

“He did not want his discoveries and life’s work to be a source of problems, but rather a great start and foundation for us, his grandchildren, in the way his work supported my mother in her early years.”

Mr Hancock added that his grandfather was “generous” in giving Mrs Rinehart one-third of the company when she was born, but that he would be “furious” at what the company’s employees are now doing.

Mrs Rinehart has tried several times to take the issue to arbitration rather than court, but is now prepared with five members of the Queen’s Council for litigation. However, not even this will deter him from chasing after what he believes is rightfully his, he told the news source.

The trial is slated to begin on October 1.

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