Commissioner of Stamp Duties (Queensland) v Livingston: PC 7 Oct 1964

A testator had died domiciled in New South Wales and with real and personal property both in New South Wales and in Queensland. He left one-third of his real and personal estate to his widow absolutely. She then died intestate, also domiciled in New South Wales, but the husband’s estate was not yet fully administered. No clear residue had yet been ascertained and no final balance attributable to the shares of residue had been determined. The question was whether the deceased widow’s share in her husband’s real and personal estate in Queensland, a share that had devolved on her death on those entitled under her intestacy, was subject to Queensland succession duty. Did she die owning a beneficial interest in any real or personal property in Queensland?
Held: No Queensland succession duty was payable.
The estate of a deceased which devolves on personal representatives comes to them ‘virtute officii . . in full ownership, without distinction between legal and equitable interests’ but they hold the estate ‘for the purpose of carrying out the functions and duties of administration, not for [their] own benefit’.
A beneficiary under an estate has no interest in the property to be administered, but only a right to require the estate to be duly administered, and to receive an appropriate proportion of the nett estate.
Viscount Radcliffe said: ‘their Lordships regard it as clearly established that Mrs. Coulson was not entitled to any beneficial interest in any property in Queensland at the date of her death. What she was entitled to in respect of her rights under her deceased husband’s will was a chose in action, capable of being invoked for any purpose connected with the proper administration of his estate’
Viscount Radcliffe
[1965] AC 694, [1964] UKPC 45, [1964] TR 351, (1964) 43 ATC 325, [1964] 3 All ER 692, [1964] 3 WLR 963
CitedSudeley v Attorney-General HL 1897
The husband had died leaving part of his residuary estate to his widow. She then died before the estate was fully administered. Both died domiciled in England. The husband’s estate included mortgages of land in New Zealand and the House was asked . .

Cited by:
CitedEarnshaw and Others v Hartley CA 31-Mar-1999
An administrator de son tort, who was also a beneficiary, held the estate property on trust, and so could not establish adverse possession against the estate during the period of trusteeship. He held a sufficient interest in the assets already. A . .
CitedMaye, Re (Northern Ireland) HL 6-Feb-2008
The defendant had admitted charges of obtaining property by deception. A confiscation hearing concluded that he had benefitted to a much greater extent than could be recoverd. Before then however both his parents had died, and he stood to inherit . .
CitedRaymond Saul and Co (A Firm) v Holden and Another; In re Hemming (deceased) ChD 12-Nov-2008
The claimant was sole residuary legatee of his mother’s estate. He became bankrupt, but was released by automatic discharge from the bankruptcy before the administration of the estate was completed. He challenged the solicitors who wished to pay the . .
CitedMarshall (Inspector of Taxes) v Kerr HL 30-Jun-1994
A settlor by will was deemed to have had an interest as funds were passed to a Jersey Trust. The section merely made or allowed that a variation of a will would not be a taxable event in UK law. It had no other effects. A deed of family arrangement . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 12 July 2021; Ref: scu.190220