The Facts

Probate document states home address of each executor

A woman died in July 2022, aged 95 years. She left behind three sons and a will which divided her estate equally between them. Two of the sons were named as executors of the estate.

In December 2022, the court granted probate of the woman's will to the two executor brothers.

As is customary, the front sheet of the probate document named the two executors and stated the complete residential address of each of them.

Executor seeks suppression order for residential address

Lawyers for the first executor wrote to the Probate Registrar, asking that the probate be reissued and the address of that executor changed to the other executor's address.

As a change of this nature requires a court order, the executors took the matter to the Supreme Court of NSW, requesting that the court make orders suppressing the address of the first executor indefinitely.

Executor claims intense abuse, intimidation and threats

The executor who wanted his address suppressed said that he feared for his safety because he had received "intense abuse, intimidation and threats" from his non-executor brother.

He also claimed he was forced to cease contact with his mother during her lifetime, because his brother's abuse and intimidation was "on the verge of becoming physically violent".

By the time of the court hearing, but before the expiry of the 12-month limitation period following the mother's death, lawyers for the non-executor brother had written to the two executors to notify them that the brother intended to make a claim for a family provision order out of their mother's estate.

It was up to the court to determine whether or not to grant the first executor's request for a suppression order for his home address.


The case for the executor


The case for the probate jurisdiction

  • I don't want my brother to know my home address because his past history gives me every reason to be concerned for my safety.
  • My brother has served two prison terms, including one for the manufacture of methylamphetamine.
  • While he was on bail, he tried to procure someone to render a potential victim blind and deaf as retribution for telling the police about his drug manufacturing.
  • I have received intense abuse, intimidation and threats from my brother.
  • The abuse and intimidation were so extreme that I was forced to cease contact with my mother during her lifetime.
  • My brother currently does not know my residential address and I wish to ensure this remains the case, particularly since he has stated his intention to make a claim for a family provision order out of our mother's estate.
  • It is a fundamental principle of our legal system that justice is administered openly, in courts and by judgments that are accessible to the public.
  • While it is true that the brother in question has a criminal history, the judgment against him was more than ten years ago.
  • The executor has provided no evidence of the nature or content of the abuse, intimidation and threats he claims his brother has made.
  • If the executor is concerned for his safety, he could take the simple step of contacting the police to seek an apprehended personal violence order against his brother.
  • There is no evidence that the executor's address has been omitted from documents in these or in previous legal proceedings, nor any evidence that the address has previously been regarded as confidential.
  • The brother in question could easily find the executor's address by other means.

So, which case won?

Cast your judgment below to find out

Olivia Galvin
Probate law
Stacks Law Firm

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.