Neville Wran’s heirs are involved an estate dispute

I’ve been following a dispute involving the estate of the former Premier of New South Wales, Neville Kenneth Wran (October 11, 1926 – April 20, 2014). Neville Wran was the premier of New South Wales from 1976 to 1986. After leaving politics Mr. Wran had a successful career as an investment banker. At the time of his death on April 20, 2014, his estate was estimated to be worth $40 million and comprised of a large property portfolio.

One part of the dispute is between Mr. Wran’s adopted son, Glenn Wayne Wran, and Glenn’s step mother Jill Hickson Wran and the estate’s three executors, Kim Wran Sheftell, Nigel Stokes, and Brian Dale. Glenn Wran appears to believe he was not adequately provided for in the will and is entitled to a larger portion of the estate.

Another aspect of the dispute is the apparent intent of Neville Wran’s 27 year old daughter Harriet Langley Wran to also challenge the will. Harriet Wran’s position will likely be that she was also not adequately provided for in the will.

Further complicating the matter is that Harriet was recently committed to stand trial for murder. She will be tried in Superior Court in Sydney, Australia on November 6, 2015. Harriet along with co-accused Lloyd Edward Haines and Michael Lee are accused of murdering drug dealer Daniel John McNulty in a Redfern housing block in August of 2014. All three accused are currently behind bars.

This is an example of a dispute involving the heirs of a wealthy person. It is important to ensure all estate planning matters are taken care of correctly. If estate planning is out of date or neglected altogether, it can result in expensive estate litigation. Even if a proper will is in place, it is likely that some family members may believe that they are entitled to more. This is especially true in instances involving substantial estates. If that happens to be the case, a will challenge may follow. A will challenge can be an expensive and lengthy process.

Mediation has been ordered in this case. The dispute will be mediated by Keith Mason,an eminent former appeal justice, who is a former president of the NSW Court of Appeal and a former NSW solicitor general.

This appears to be case where estate mediation could be a very useful process. Although mediation may not outright resolve the entire dispute, it can be used as a tool to narrow down issues and reduce legal costs. The fact that Harriet Wran is currently in prison and facing a murder charge further complicates the matter as it may be difficult to have her involved in a practical manner or attend estate mediation.

It will be interesting to see what happens next in the Neville Wran estate dispute.

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