News State New South Wales Note from beyond grave torpedoes $1m claim

Note from beyond grave torpedoes $1m claim

legal aid rort by solicitor
A Sydney man's claim for more of his mother's lucrative estate has exposed a private memo she left lamenting his shambolic finances and ‘rude’ kids. Photo: Getty Getty
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From beyond the grave, a NSW mother has declared her son’s financial affairs a “shambles” and his daughters “simply rude” after he tried to get a bigger slice of her $6.8 million estate.

Paul Joseph Ameisen, a 71-year-old doctor twice struck off the medical register, sought about $1.25m in cash on top of the $1.2 million property and a $66,000 yearly payment his mother left him.

But after examining his extensive debts, spending habits and a note left by the 97-year-old woman, who died in 2018, the NSW Supreme Court dismissed his claim against his only sibling Helen Ameisen.

In the 2010 memo anticipating his claim, Maria “Maya” Ameisen expressed her deepest love for her “wonderful, caring” son before detailing how often she and her late husband Alexander had helped him financially.

Despite his employment as a GP and residence in a Bondi unit with minimal rent, Paul Ameisen “has very little to show for it and has consistently squandered nearly all the money he has every (sic) earned”, Ms Ameisen said.

“This is at odds with the value system that Alexander and I always adopted of saving and investing our money and never relying on handouts from family in order to make ends meet.”

Having also helped him buy property in North Bondi and Mudgee and provided “many hundreds of thousands of dollars” to cover his debts and legal costs, the mother expressed fear he’d squander any lump sum.

“As a financial manager, Paul’s affairs are and always have been a shambles,” Ms Ameisen said.

She also explicitly stated she did not want her son’s two adopted adult daughters to receive any sum.

“Throughout the time that they have been with Paul, the best behaviour either of them has had towards me and Alexander has been indifferent,” she said.

“Generally, they have been simply rude in varying degrees.”

A trust fund was left for Mr Ameisen’s son born in 2012.

Helen Ameisen, 65, told the court that when her brother was struck off the medical register and required financial help in 2009, their mother despairingly said words to the effect of: “When a mother has an ‘ulomny dziecko’ what can she do? She must help him.”

The Polish phrase translates to “mentally disabled child” or “lame child”.

In his reasons published this month, Justice Geoff Lindsay said Mr Ameisen had “a well-deserved reputation within his own family as a poor manager of his own affairs – a spendthrift of sorts”.

The former doctor has about $140,000 in credit card and other debt and is facing a prospective $220,000 tax bill.

“The plaintiff’s ambit claim suggests that he has a misplaced sense of entitlement,” the judge said, describing Helen as “a dutiful daughter”.

“It is far beyond anything that could reasonably be allowed to him if –contrary to my determination – a grant of family provision relief were to be made.”

Mr Ameisen initially tried to contest the validity of his mother’s three known wills but withdrew that case in September 2019.

-AAP