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War veteran Norman Maddock lacked the mental capacity to change his will and give fortune to hairdresser Marcia Reynolds

Written by Javed Iqbal

In a tribute to Maddock after his death in 2020, The Greek Herald told of Maddock, who served in a special military division of the Australian Imperial Forces, which was “particularly known for their service and sacrifices on the island of Crete in 1941”.

“Norm was involved in a series of actions aimed at delaying the German advance, as well as in rearguard positions that enabled the successful withdrawal of thousands of Allied troops,” the newspaper wrote.

Stuart Watson and Norm Maddock in 2011 with then-Veterans Minister Warren Snowdon.

Stuart Watson and Norm Maddock in 2011 with then-Veterans Minister Warren Snowdon.Credit:Corporal Janine Fabre, 1st Joint Public Affairs Unit, ADF.

Norm reached the port of Kalamata in the southern Peloponnese and was evacuated to Costa Rica. He fought in Georgioupolis, Chania and the Battle of 42nd Street. Norm was captured in Crete, but escaped and reached the North African coast by sea. “

The Cretan Federation of Australia and New Zealand similarly paid tribute to Maddock after his death and issued a statement saying he and his former comrades would be remembered forever for their service and sacrifice in Crete in 1941. He was the last survivor Victorian veteran of the Battle of Crete.

After the war, Maddock joined the Railway, Tram and Bus Union, where he served as delegate, president, and assistant secretary for 41 years. He was awarded an Order of Australia in 2007 for services to Victoria’s tramways.

In his later years, however, Maddock’s health suffered little. In 2020, Justice McMillan found that Maddock’s reputation for diseases included type 2 diabetes mellitus, atrial fibrillation, ischemic heart disease, osteoarthritis, gastroesophageal reflux disease, chronic kidney failure, congestive heart failure, and a recent stroke. His medical records showed that he had been diagnosed as suffering from paranoid ideas, cognitive difficulties and low mood by the end of 2018.

Maddock told his lawyer, Tony Naughton of Moreley Naughton Pearn and Cook, that he considered Reynolds to be like a daughter.

Naughton testified before the Supreme Court that Maddock was a “difficult and troubled man” and that he repeatedly warned his client that his intended changes to his will could be challenged by his wife Shirley – who was in elderly care with dementia – and his adult children.

“Mr. Naughton described the deceased as a very tenacious person who would get angry if he did not get his own will,” Judge McMillan found.

While Naughton held that Maddock had the “testamentary” or mental capacity to change his will, he found that the attorney did not adequately address the reasons for drawing that conclusion.

Battle of Crete veteran Norman Maddock.

Battle of Crete veteran Norman Maddock.Credit:Cretan Federation of Australia and New Zealand / Facebook

“It did not either [Naughton] obtain all information regarding [Norman Maddock’s] significant health problems given that he was aware of the deceased’s age and strong personality, the financial position of the [Mrs Maddock] and the deceased’s strong recent dependence on [Marcia Reynolds]”, Judge McMillan reported.

Maddocks 2018 will nominate three trustees, including Reynolds. That will left $ 25,000 for each of the trustees, $ 180,000 for various charities and $ 600,000 for his wife. Of the remaining amount, 20 percent would go to his son, 20 percent to his stepdaughter and 60 percent to Royal Children’s Hospital.

Justice McMillan heard evidence that Maddock’s property was worth $ 3.5 million.

A year later, Maddock got Naughton to change his will again; this time, Reynolds appointed sole manager, bequeathed her $ 75,000 and cut the amount back to his wife from $ 600,000 to $ 300,000. Naughton and Reynolds saw Maddock sign the New Testament.

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Three months later, in January 2020, Maddock changed his will again. This time, he also left the Bentleigh East family home to Reynolds, adding a clause that Shirley Maddock – who died in May this year – had “advanced dementia and [had] very abundant and sufficient money for her needs ”.

Maddock had owned it home for 65 years and it was valued between $ 1 million and $ 1.2 million, the court was told.

Shirley Maddock, through her administrator Australian Unity Trustees Limited and the couple’s two children, filed a challenge to the will changes in December 2020, while Marcia Reynolds applied for a probate court grant for the final will.

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Javed Iqbal

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