Lottery winners' death sparks courtroom battle

Wednesday April 20th 2011

A family have found themselves embroiled in a legal fight after an Australian Lottery winners’ death sparks a courtroom battle. A man from Townsville, Australia who has been named as Alexander Frank Szanto, won $1.8 million on the Australian Lottery on 13 February last year, but unfortunately died the following day, leaving his children to battle it out to see who should get his fortune.

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Szanto bought his winning Australian Lottery ticket last year and it was found in his North Queensland flat which was beneath his daughters’ home. This sparked an argument between his four siblings as to who was the rightful owner of the winning Australian Lottery ticket.

The problems have arisen due to the wording of Mr Szantos’ will which indicates that the Australian Lottery win should be shared between three of his children rather than going solely to the daughter who inherited the flat in which Mr Szanto lived along with the contents. As the Australian Lottery ticket was located in the flat at the time of his death, there was argument that it should belong to his daughter. The judge has now ruled that the lottery win should fall within the residual estate and should be distributed under the terms of the will. However, another question surrounding this Australian Lottery win is whether Mr Szanto had purchased the ticket just for himself or whether he planned to share any win with one of his sons. Evidence to support this theory is yet to be heard by the court as one of his sons argues that his father bought the lotto ticket to share with him.

Written by Peter Kirkham

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