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Husband charged with murder in Sydney cold case

The husband of a Bayview woman who went missing over 35 years ago has now been charged with her murder. After being arrested at a Queensland property, he was extradited to Sydney for the charges.

Timeline of a crime

Disappearing in 1982, the woman left behind a husband and two daughters. In the days following her disappearance, her husband invited his then 16-year-old romantic partner to live with him. It took over six weeks before the husband reported to the police that his wife had gone missing. He then divorced her the following year and married his new wife in 1984. An investigation held 16 years later found a torn pink cardigan at their property and subsequent coronial inquests suggested laying charges against her husband. In December 2018 the husband was finally arrested and charged with the murder of his wife.

What happens to your estate if you go missing?

It is unknown whether the woman had a Will. If she had died intestate, or without a Will, it generally would be assumed that her husband would have inherited any estate or assets she had left behind. In NSW intestacy law, if someone dies and they have children with the spouse, then the spouse will inherit it in its entirety. When a person goes missing, inheritance is assumed under survivorship. If a person goes missing, or has not been in contact with people that would normally hear from them for over seven years, then their death can be assumed.

What happens if you are murdered by your beneficiary?

In the years following the woman’s disappearance before charges had been laid, the husband would have most likely benefited from whatever estate she had left behind. If he is found guilty of murder and there is anything left of the estate, it will be forfeited and distributed to the next beneficiary. In NSW, if someone is responsible or has been involved in the death of someone who they are a beneficiary of they cannot benefit from the estate – this is known as the forfeiture rule.

If the husband is acquitted of the charges, the daughters could file a claim against him and demand a forfeiture due to the possibility that he was involved with her disappearance.

When filing a forfeiture claim, or any Will Dispute, seek professional and experienced lawyers to walk you through the process and present your case. At Gerald Malouf and Partners, we understand the ins and outs of contesting a will in NSW – try our complimentary 90-day trial of legal services.

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