Reading the international press sometimes is entertainment in itself. Sometimes you pick up on the weirdest stories- like the one I saw in the Australian press this week. The Sydney Morning Herald reported about a guy who died from a long illness and left behind a very specific will. I should add that the man, Ron Hoolahan, was a very wealthy gentleman who had an estate worth more than $15 million. While he clearly loved his wife and four children (professing so in the letters accompanying his will), the terms of the will came as a shock to his widow Juliana.
Hoolahan apparently didn’t trust his wife with handling his estate, particularly since he claimed she had a bad gambling habit , and so he stipulated that she would get a restricted income of $85,000 a year instead of being able to decide for herself how to spend the money. “I believe you think you can win at gambling, particularly the pokies,” he wrote to Juliana. “You should be well aware by now that this is not the case. You can only use this money once, then it is gone. Please be careful.”
He also criticized her drinking habits, claiming that she drank too much alcohol and that “you say things when you have been drinking that you normally would not say.”
Nevertheless, Juliana wasn’t going to let her husband bully her from the grave and took the case to the Australian Supreme Court. After quite a bit of deliberation, it was ruled that the widow should be given the money of the estate without the stipulations made by her late husband. The court found that while Juliana drew up to $1,000 at a time at busy pokie clubs and admitted spending the money on popular casino games, she clearly didn’t have a gambling problem as her spending patterns were consistent throughout the years with no major changes. The outcome of the case, according to the newspaper, was that the idea of an annual stipend was done away with, and instead, the wife received millions of dollars to do with as she wished, plus the family homes and boat.