A Chinese woman is trying to prove that her baby is the sole heir to a murdered businessman’s $50 million estate. Xuan Yang won her bid in the British Columbia Supreme Court to have a paternity test done to prove that millionaire businessman, Gang Yuan, was the father of her child. The court authorized a DNA laboratory to carry out the test with the results ordered to be provided to the administrators of Yuan’s estate. Gang Yuan was murdered on May 2 and at the time of his death, he did not have a will – making the Chinese woman’s baby the sole heir.
If the test proves positive, the baby could inherit the entire estate under new laws passed in British Columbia which came into effect in March 2014, called the Wills and Estate Succession Act. The law outlines clearly what will happen because he did not have a will. If it is proven that the baby is his child and heir, the court would appoint a guardian to hold the money in trust until the child is 19.
However, as the years have rolled on, the case becomes even more interesting. An update at the beginning of 2015, listed that multiple people were arguing that Gang Yuan had fathered their child. There were 5 mothers who were claiming that they had a child who belonged to Yuan. Two of the mothers are stating that they also had been the significant partner of Yuan. However, DNA test must be done to show who is actually the real child. There may be multiple children or they may be only one. In 2017, the case is still to be heard and many are still claiming that Yuan is the father of their child.
A case like this rarely comes without complications. Yang alleges that Yuan’s brother has tried to block the paternity test and is pushing for a cremation as quickly as possible. Most jurisdictions, including Queensland, have laws about intestacy (or dying without a will). While most people do not have a $50 million fortune to worry about, dying without a will means that the laws of intestacy will apply, regardless of the deceased’s wishes.
Have You Got An Heir?
In Queensland, the laws of intestacy will distribute to the closest next of kin. The order is as follows:
- Spouse and issue (or children and grandchildren)
- Nephews and nieces
- Aunts and uncles
- First cousins
- The Crown (or the government)
The way the estate is distributed is as follows:
- If married with no children, the entire estate goes to the spouse
- If married with children, then:
- if the value of estate is less than $150,000 excluding household chattels, then the whole estate is given to the spouse
- if the value exceeds $150,000 excluding household chattels, then the spouse is given the household chattels, $150,000, and:(i) if there is only one (1) child: 1/2 of the rest of the estate; or
(ii) if there are two (2) or more children: 1/3 of the rest of the estate; and
- the children receive the remainder of the estate.
- If there is only one (1) child and the child survived, the child takes the whole estate.
- If there are two (2) or more children, all of whom survived, they take the whole estate in equal shares.
Whether this distribution is what the deceased would have wanted is irrelevant at this point. If the deceased wants to distribute the estate in any other way, then he/she must write a will outlining his/her wishes.
It’s important to note that no two wills will be the same. Everyone’s circumstances and wishes are different, which is why we always encourage people to seek advice from a specialist in wills and estates law. The person whom you might choose as your heir today might change over the years, and therefore it’s important to update your will regularly.
If you do not have a will or are concerned about an intestate estate, please contact us today for a free, 10-minute phone consultation. We are always happy to help. This case of Yuan is just an example of why having a will is so vitally important. Unfortunately, even if you have a will, it can still cause disputes. We recommend that the first step to your ideal will is seeing a solicitor. It can be difficult to draft a will by yourself, especially when you do not know the full procedures or all the details of your assets. Asking for assistance takes a load off your shoulders and allows your will to be properly drafted.
Feel free to contact us today at Mitchell’s Solicitors, we are happy to assist you in all aspects of estate planning.