Opinion Number. 1832

Subject

BEQUESTSBEQUEST MADE BY WILL OF DECEASED RECIPIENT OF OLD AGE PENSION TO ‘THE GOVERNMENT’: WHETHER GOVERNMENT IS COMMONWEALTH OR QUEENSLAND GOVERNMENT

Date
Client
N.D. Welldon, Solicitor

I refer to your letter of the 23rd December, 1947, addressed to the Attorney-General, asking for his opinion as to the interpretations of the expression ‘the Government’ in the will of above-named deceased. The Attorney-General has referred the letter to me for reply.

The relevant words in the will are as follows:

As I am an old pensioner I leave the rest to the Government.

I note your statement that the deceased was an old-age pensioner and I assume that she was not at the date of her will in receipt of any pension under any law of the state of Queensland. If this is so, I am clearly of opinion that the reference to ‘the Government’ is a reference to the Commonwealth Government.

In the will of a resident of a State, a reference to ‘the Government’, if unexplained by the context, appears to me to be equally capable of referring either to the State Government or to the Government of the Commonwealth. In the present case, however, the testatrix has stated the reason for the bequest, namely, that she is an ‘old pensioner’. The evidence above that the pension to which she refers is a pension received from the Commonwealth Government. The fact that she had been receiving such a pension would appear to afford no reason for the making of a bequest to the State Government, but might very well be considered by the testatrix to be a reason for making a bequest to the Commonwealth Government.

[Vol. 38, p. 85]