Mining magnate's widow testifies over will

·3-min read

When mining magnate Ken Talbot's will was read to family his trusted solicitor of 15 years held the hand of the billionaire's widow.

But now, more than a decade after a plane crash that claimed the life of her husband, Amanda Talbot is suing legal practitioner Bill Boyd.

The deterioration of their relationship was evident in emails Ms Talbot wrote in November 2015, saying she was "coming out punching" and was going to "continually harass Bill with emails and wear him down".

If Mr Boyd did not resign and appoint herself and another man as estate administrators she would "completely destroy Bill's reputation by telling the world how incompetent he has been".

Ms Talbot is suing Boyd Legal in a Brisbane court over allegations that owner Mr Boyd failed to finalise her husband's new will before he died, causing her to lose financial benefits.

She is also suing law firm Arnold Bloch Leibler which previously represented her.

The Macarthur Coal founder died in June 2010 in a crash in the Republic of Congo.

The BRW Rich 200 list cited Mr Talbot's worth at $965 million at the time of his death.

He was also due to face court a few months later on corruption charges.

The businessman had been married to Ms Talbot since April 1995 and the couple had two children, Alexandra and Claudia, who were 11 and eight when he died.

He also had children Liam and Courtney from a previous marriage.

Mr Boyd, retained by Mr Talbot in various capacities over 15 years, drafted a will for his client in 2002 that appointed Texas resident Paul Bret as executor.

The lawyer started work on a second will in 2007 but it had not been finalised when the businessman died.

Ms Talbot said she remembered Mr Boyd sitting beside her, holding her hand when her husband's will was read, but there was nothing monumental about its contents.

She regarded Mr Boyd as trusted, well thought of and "a steady person to have on the ship", she told the Brisbane Supreme Court on Wednesday.

But she had a "very uneasy feeling" about the American, describing their first meeting in Talbot Group offices.

"The main thing I recall was Mr Bret strutting around saying, ... 'I am Ken Talbot, I own all of this'," she said.

"He also said we were going to have a lot of fun which I found very distasteful - the reason that we were all there was not much fun at all."

With the help of Arnold Bloch Leibler, Mr Bret was paid $10 million to "essentially get out of our lives" and replaced by Mr Boyd in mid-2012.

The thought of Mr Bret being involved in her daughter's lives for so long due to trust funds set up for them was just unimaginable, Ms Talbot said.

The court also heard of her strained relationship with Mr Talbot's older children.

In an email she wrote that she did not want Liam to pop into the McConnell Street home she had shared with Mr Talbot.

"I really find it quite threatening," she said.

Ms Talbot also wrote in 2015 that Mr Boyd and Courtney think she is bluffing about being prepared to go to court.

"They think I am throwing a tantrum and I will get over it," she added.

Ms Talbot said she was told at her husband's funeral about notes made about a new will, but in August 2018 obtained what turned out to be an extensive will file.

The trial continues before Justice David Boddice.

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