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When Sally left Harry

Abandoned on the steps of St Mark’s Basilica in Venice, Italy, baby Sally* was raised by nuns, never knowing her real parents.

As a young woman, Sally set out on an adventure that would take her around the world. She settled in Albany, Western Australia, where she met Harry*, a young shearer, and they married.

The marriage was short-lived: When Sally and Harry separated there were no children. There was no common property to speak of and neither partner sought a divorce.

The parties went their own ways and soon lost contact with each other.

Sally moved to Sydney and enjoyed a successful career as a sports photographer until fate again intervened when her eyesight failed – forcing her into early retirement. She was forced to reply on her savings to survive.

Through a lifetime of hard work and frugal living, Harry amassed considerable wealth including a home and investments.

Thirty years after the separation Harry died interstate leaving three sisters to whom he was deeply attached.

Harry hadn’t made a Will, so his fortune was divided according to the laws of intestacy. Sally took the lion’s share and his sisters received the crumbs.

The sisters were unable to challenge the distribution because only children, wives and de facto partners have this right under the Inheritance (Family and Dependants) Provisions Act.

Sally had a windfall. She has just made a new Will. But Harry is turning in his grave.

* names have been changed to protect the identity of the parties.

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