Not a legal will: Suicide note sparks estate battle
A handwritten suicide note has sparked a bitter will dispute between a Gold Coast man's family and the girlfriend he left behind.
Former warehouse manager Craig MacQueen took his own life in 2015, writing in the note that he wanted his estate - worth about $700,000 - split 50-50 between his parents and his partner of five years, Nicole Rosmalen.
However the note did not constitute a legal document, igniting a protracted battle that has also seen two more women - Mr MacQueen's adult daughters from a previous relationship, come forward staking a claim.
Ms Rosmalen, who was at one point left homeless amid mounting legal costs, has now engaged Shine Lawyers in a bid to secure a share of Mr MacQueen's estate for her and her daughter, who she said called him "Dad".
Ms Rosmalen said the heartache of her partner's sudden death had been made worse by the ongoing legal struggles.
"After Craig's passing, my world has been turned upside-down," she said.
"I was grieving and his suicide note had to go to court, making my anguish all the harder.
"When I look back at that suicide note, I believe Craig's intentions were only good and to make sure I was looked after.
"But not having a formal will has meant I had to take it into court, and with all that there's been so much conflict with the extended family that it's been almost too much to bear."
Rebecca O'Toole, from Shine Lawyers, said the case served as a tragic reminder abut the need for legally-binding wills.
"This has truly been a heartbreaking and worst case scenario for Nicole and her daughter," she said.
"Craig left a note with the intention to provide, but what has resulted is Nicole has wound up homeless and in conflict, as legal costs besiege the estate.
"Sadly, handwritten suicide notes and other informal documents are often brought before the court for consideration as a will."
Lawyers for the MacQueen family declined to comment.
Originally published as Not a legal will: Suicide note sparks estate battle