Fred Smith Fred Smith

Fred Smith

Principal Wills and Estates | Brisbane
07 3231 0631 fsmith@mcw.com.au Download vCard

Fred Smith is known for delivering practical clear advice to clients and has worked exclusively in the wills and estates arena for the last 17 years.  His focus areas include: personal estate planning (for persons with and without capacity); advising executors, trustees and beneficiaries on trust and estate administration; and contentious estates, estate litigation and QCAT matters (advising attorneys and recovering property).  Fred also acts as a litigation guardian for people who are without capacity to act personally and accepts court appointments to act as an independant administrator. 

Fred’s practice assists private clients, small to medium sized businesses, not for profit organisations and trustee companies (based in Queensland and nationally).  He is recognised for his results driven and practical approach to addressing complex and sensitive matters for his clients. 

Fred was listed as a Leading Lawyer for Wills, Estates & Succession Planning and a Recommended Lawyer for Estates Litigation in the Australia Doyles Guide 2018.

He was also listed as a Preeminent Lawyer for both Wills, Estates & Succession Planning and Estates Litigation in the Queensland Doyles Guide 2018.

Listed in The Best Lawyers in Australia 2020 for Trusts and Estates

Fred's Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Laws (Honours), Griffith University
  • Bachelor of International Business, Griffith University
  • Diploma of Export Management, Australian Institute of Export
  • Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland
  • Solicitor of the High Court of Australia

Fred's Expertise

  • Powers of attorney, wills and trusts
  • Court made wills for persons without capacity
  • Advising executors, trustees and beneficiaries about estates and trust administration and litigation
  • Dispute resolution
  • Attorney actions in QCAT 

Fred's Leadership

  • Member, Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP)
  • Queensland Law Society – Succession Law conference committee member
  • Member, Queensland Law Society

Fred's Recent Experience

Area of Expertise

Area of Expertise

Contentious estates

Work Undertaken

Accepted an appointment by the Supreme Court to act as the independent administrator of an estate where the named executors were unable to agree how the administration should proceed. Following their removal, Fred acted as administrator to resolve differences and reduce further delay and legal costs associated with the estate litigation. Fred was then able to negotiate the final distributions and complete the administration of the estate.

Area of Expertise

Area of Expertise

QCAT matter

Work Undertaken

Acted on behalf of a daughter accused by her siblings of not acting appropriately as attorney for their mother, defended the allegations before QCAT, investigated the allegations of impropriety and undue influence and responded to investigations by the Public Guardian.

Area of Expertise

Area of Expertise

Estate planning – court made will

Work Undertaken

Successfully applied for the court to make a will for a child, who as a result of personal injury, will never be able to make a will. The child received a substantial compensation payout as a result of her personal injury claim. Without a will the child’s payout would, upon her death, be divided equally between her parents in accordance with intestacy rules. However as only one parent was now involved in her life, this would not likely be what the child would have wanted if she was able to express her view. The court accepted the application and a will was made for the child which the court considered she would make if she was able.

Area of Expertise

Area of Expertise

Contentious estates

Work Undertaken

Acted on behalf of an independent administrator, appointed by the court to conduct the administration of any estate where the instituted executors have been unable to jointly progress the administration. Such matters often involve complex issues, detailed disputes and actual or threatened litigation against the estate.

Area of Expertise

Area of Expertise

Litigation guardian

Work Undertaken

When requested, Fred has agreed to act for parties who are unable to represent themselves – because of incapacity (eg: under 18 or mentally incapable). This need arises when the interests of persons without capacity are affected by estate or trust litigation. For example, Fred recently acted on behalf of minor beneficiaries where there was a difference of opinion as to the true interpretation of a gift in a will. One interpretation favoured the executors and another favoured the minor beneficiaries. Fred was litigation guardian for the minors to represent their interests when the court was asked to determine the true construction of the gift in the will.

Fred's recent publications

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  1. Another Warning on Estate Litigation Costs

    17 Nov 2016

    A common misconception about estate litigation is that the estate will meet all the costs. “Have a go because the costs will be paid by the estate” has been said before but those days are close to over if not over already. The tides are...

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  2. Stop a 'black sheep' from benefiting from your estate: does estrangement equal exclusion?

    27 Oct 2016

    The District Court of Queensland’s decision of Wright v Wright[1] puts into sharp focus the issue of estrangement and whether a testator remains obliged to make provision for a child from whom he or she is estranged, or whether estrangement will...

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  3. Bankrupt beneficiaries – warning for executors and hard lessons for the bankrupts

    29 Apr 2015

    Receipt of an inheritance usually has mixed emotions for recipients. On the one hand, there is sadness because usually a loved one has died, precipitating the administration of that estate. On the other hand, there is happiness at receipt of a financial...

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