A servicewoman known by the name Kirsty Lea is at the centre of a controversial will dispute
The de facto partner of a deceased RAAF mechanic who was given the majority of his estate while his two little girls received far less is a fellow member of the Defence Force.
Daily Mail Australia can reveal a servicewoman known as Kirsty Lea is at the centre of the controversial will dispute which infuriated her former partner’s family.
Ms Lea was the girlfriend of airman Daniel Leverton, who died suddenly during a surfing trip with his father on April 4, 2015.
Daniel’s former partner and the mother of his two little girls, Angela Watson, reportedly believed she was still the sole beneficiary and executor of his will from when they were married and that their daughters’ future was secure.
But News Corp reported she then discovered Mr Leverton’s partner had filed a claim through Military Super, entitling her to $352,170 of the $451,500 of his superannuation account, leaving just $49,664 each to his girls. The children were aged aged 9 and 7 at the time of his death.
Daniel Leverton (pictured with his two daughters) passed away suddenly while surfing with his father in Arrawarra, on the New South Wales north coast
Ms Lea (pictured left) and right, a Facebook display picture
It’s understood Mr Leverton was surfing with his father in Arrawarra on the New South Wales north coast when he complained of chest pains and suddenly collapsed.
News Corp first reported this week that Ms Watson was shocked when she later learned that there was less than $100,000 remaining from his estate to split between their two daughters, and appealed to the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation. Her appeal was denied and the decision upheld.
In conversations, friends also reiterated Ms Lea was legally entitled to his superannuation payout.
Mr Leverton’s father Geoff recently starred in a short online video recently where he described the Corporation’s decision as ‘morally wrong’ and a ‘travesty of justice’.
‘The girls are missing out on Daniel’s wishes,’ he claimed, explaining he had recently written to the Minister responsible for assistance.
In August 2014, Mr Leverton made a statutory declaration that his new girlfriend was his ‘independent partner’, reports said.
This was done as he was about to be posted in the Northern Territory but did not want to move away from his daughters, so he used a loophole to declare he was in a de facto relationship and he wouldn’t have to be relocated.
Mr Leverton died shortly after returning from deployment in Vanuatu helping the country recover from the devastation of Cyclone Pam
‘It put a terrible burden on Daniel… he asked if there was a way around it,’ Mr Leverton’s father Geoff toldNews Corp this week.
‘He had a casual relationship with a young lady at the time, so they advised him that even though it was well below the de facto relationship civil laws of Queensland which is two years, that if he signed a stat dec, they could be recognised as de facto and then Daniel wouldn’t have to be transferred.’
It is not suggested Mr Leverton’s girlfriend knew of the statutory declaration.
And on Tuesday, a friend of the couple, who asked not to be named, characterised their relationship in a different light.
‘It definitely wasn’t a “casual relationship” like his father stated,’ the friend claimed.
The friend pointed to the extensive requirements for a couple to be recognised as de facto by the Defence Department.
A Defence fact sheet said couples must provide documents that prove they live together on a genuine basis, including rental agreements, joint bank accounts, bills and statutory declarations.
‘It put a terrible burden on Daniel because he didn’t want to be away from his girls, and he asked if there was a way around it,’ Mr Leverton’s father Geoff told News Corp
The friend said: ‘It’s not like she wasn’t legally entitled to his super.
‘The only people who know the truth about their relationship is the two of them, but he doted on her.
‘He used to bring her coffee, lunches, had flowers delivered for her birthday, he seemed to be head over heels…both of them were.’
Ms Lea declined to comment on Tuesday. The Defence Department was also approached for comment.
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