In episode 15 of our podcast, Growing Stronger, Tanya Chapman discusses a case where a doctor’s young drinking buddy moves in with him and becomes his live-in carer. For many years they lived together as the doctor’s capacity diminished and his care needs increased. Although his young drinking buddy received approximately $800,000 in financial benefits from the doctor, after the doctor’s death he made a claim on the estate.
Was he entitled to the doctor’s home worth about $2 million?
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Case: Gill v Garrett  NSWSC 795; Gill v Garrett (No 2)  NSWSC 1473
1. The case discussed in the episode is a NSW case, so what we’re discussing will be based on the law in NSW and is not intended to be taken to be applied Australia-wide.
2. While this podcast is aimed to be informative, it is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice. For any matter we discuss, we summarise, skip over parts that may be too technical and only generalise. You should still see a solicitor for complete advice that relates directly to your particular situation.
In 1994 Dr Garrett’s wife Nancy 1994 died suddenly. He had 3 children, but they were all busy with their careers and raising their own families. He was lonely and grieving.
It was at this time that he met Jason Gill, a man who was 30 years younger than him and they became friends.
Jason had a circle of friends at the local pub and Dr Garrett was welcomed into the circle. They were soon drinking together every night at the pub, with the doctor footing the bill.
In late 2003, Jason needed accommodation and the doctor offered that Jason could live with him until he found a place. Jason quickly moved into the Paddington property.
Over time, the doctor’s capacity diminished and his health needs increased. Jason began acting as an informal carer. In exchange, he got rent-free accommodation, all his utilities, groceries and alcohol was paid for and he had the use of the doctor’s car.
Dr Garrett’s children became concerned. Jason wasn’t providing adequate care of their father and was encouraging him to drink excessively. Jason had also borrowed a significant amount of money from the doctor and had even arranged for the doctor to loan money to other people.
Dr Garrett died peacefully on 5 November 2015 in his home. He left his estate worth about $4m which was to be distributed $200,000 to Jason and the balance divided equally among the doctor’s 3 children.
Jason refused to leave the house and started court proceedings seeking Orders that he was entitled to the doctor’s $2m house. He said that the doctor had promised him the house in exchange for all the care he provided.
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