In a recent Supreme Court of Queensland case, the Judge was asked to interpret the meaning of a clause in a Will that gave “all of the fishing gear” and a 37ft fishing trawler to the deceased’s son. The question for the judge was, “does the fishing gear include the fishing boat licence, five dinghies and a jet boat?”

In determining what the words in the Will mean in the particular circumstances of the deceased, the Court attempts to give effect to the deceased’s intentions.

With regard to the licence, it was found to be necessary if the beneficiary of the fishing trawler was to use the trawler to take fish for commercial purposes. It would be unlikely that the deceased would give the beneficiary the trawler but not the licence to enable him to use it to take fish for commercial purposes.

With regards to the dinghies and jet boat, the licence referred to “tender boats” for the trawler and the dinghies and jetboat were found to be “tender boats” in the circumstances.

In this case, when receiving the fishing gear and trawler, the Court found the beneficiary also received the dinghies, jet boat and licence.

These types of Court Applications can be costly and in some circumstances can be avoided by careful, unambiguous descriptions of the gifts that beneficiaries are to receive.

Case reference is Davies v Davies & Anor (No 2) [2019] QSC 294