The matter of  Re the Will and Estate of Zurcas [2012] VSC 441 concerned an application for discovery of documents in a Part IV challenge of a Will.

The daughters of the deceased sought discovery of 16 categories of documents relating to the acquisition of various hotels and commercial properties, and various family and unit trusts.

The daughters submitted that the documents were relevant to section 91(4)(l) of the Administration and Probate Act 1958 (Vic), as they would prove that the Executors had received substantial benefits from the deceased during his lifetime.

In dismissing the application, Associate Justice Zammit found that:

  • no special circumstances existed for a discovery order to be made in the Part IV jurisdiction;
  • the affidavit material was sufficient to ventilate the issue of the Executors having received benefits in the deceased’s lifetime; and
  • an order for discovery would also lead to increased cost and delay, which would be disproportionate compared to the value that the documents would provide to the proceeding.

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