Inside story of how a handwritten note before a wealthy businessman’s suicide sparked a five-year legal battle between his family and his lover
- A tragic note has left a family in a bitter five-year legal dispute over his estate
- The businessman killed himself in 2015 and asked for estate to be shared
- But because the note is not considered a proper legal document it was ignored
- His partner Nicole Rosmalen is now fighting to have his last wishes recognised
A heartbreaking note left by a wealthy Queensland businessman moments before his suicide has sparked a five-year legal battle over his estate.
Craig MacQueen, 39, tragically killed himself in 2015 leaving his step daughter, and partner of five years ‘absolutely heartbroken’.
Before taking his own life, the former warehouse manager wrote down that he wanted his estate and possessions split equally between his parents and the woman he loved.
But Nicole Rosmalen has so far received nothing because the note is not considered a legal will.
Now she’s fighting in court to have his last wishes formally recognised.
Nicole Rosmalen (pictured) is fighting in court to have her partner’s last wishes formally recognised
‘Ten years ago, my daughter asked Craig if she could call him “dad”, and he said “yes”, and from that day on things did not change. Craig was our rock,’ Ms Rosmalen said.
‘Things became terribly hard after his passing. I was grieving and his note had to go to court, making my anguish all the harder.
‘After Craig’s passing, my world has been turned upside down.’
The couple started a relationship in 2010 and lived together on the Gold Coast at an apartment owned by Mr Macqueen’s mother and father.
In a situation where a note is left by a loved one, it is up to the family or benefactor to go before a court for probate.
Ms Rosmalen claims she was was assured by Mr Macqueen’s parents that she would receive a portion of his $700,000 estate – mostly made up of insurance, superannuation, a BMW and a Mercedes.
But MacQueen’s devastated lover later discovered his parents had cut her out of proceedings.
‘When I look back at that note, I believe Craig’s intentions were only good and to make sure I was looked after,’ Ms Rosmalen said.
‘But not having a formal Will has meant I had to take it into court, and with all that there’s been so much conflict with the extended family that it’s been almost too much to bear.’
Before taking his own life, the former warehouse manager wrote down that he wanted his estate and possessions split equally between his parents and the woman he loved (pictured, the note)
She said the pain of losing the love of her life was compounded by the ongoing legal ordeal which eventually left her penniless for a time.
‘I had to leave his unit, I became homeless, and with that I lost my job as a chef at the surf club and lost care of my daughter,’ Ms Rosmalen said.
‘Up until recently, I have lived on the street, in utes, in women’s shelters, and slept on people’s couches to get by.’
Shine Lawyers Associate Rebecca O’Toole, who is helping Ms Rosmalen take the legal battle to the Supreme Court of Queensland, said the ordeal has been a truly heart-breaking and worst case scenario for Ms Rosmalen and her daughter.
‘I feel so sad for Nicole, if she had obtained legal advice shortly after Craig’s passing we could have helped her and avoided the heartache and wasted money spent in legal fees,’ she said.
‘The process can be a lengthy one that further exacerbates the grief and anguish being faced by the loved ones of the deceased.
‘Now that we have stepped in, we will fight without compromise to make sure Nicole receives a fair share in her partner’s estate, as was the intended wishes Craig so diligently put down on paper in his last moments.’
Mr MacQueen’s parents, two daughters and Ms Rosmalen will all sit down for mediation on December 4 in Brisbane, ahead of further potential legal action in the Supreme Court of Queensland
Ms O’Toole said it is a ‘tragic reminder for us’ all to obtain legal advice early and to prepare a Will.
Last month Ms Rosmalen won a major battle in the ongoing bitter legal feud.
Her application that probate of the note should be granted was accepted by the Supreme Court of Queensland.
The court ruled the note was an informal document which contained the last testamentary wishes of Mr MacQueen.
But in the meantime, the situation has been complicated even more with two of Mr MacQueen’s adult daughters indicating their intention to make a claim for provision from the estate after they were left out of the will.
Mr MacQueen’s parents, two daughters and Ms Rosmalen will all sit down for mediation on December 4 in Brisbane, ahead of further potential legal action in the Supreme Court of Queensland.
Daily Mail Australia have reached out to Reaburn solicitors who represent Mr MacQueen’s parents, but they declined to comment on the matter.
If you or someone you know is in need of mental health support, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 1 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636