Alice is an 80 year old, illiterate, and suffering from Alzheimer’s disease (a disease affecting short-term memory). Will is a social worker employed by the local council to call on elderly residents as part of his duties. He visits Alice every week to check on her well-being, as her family lives in the Vietnam, and very rarely comes to visit her.
Over the years, Alice has become increasingly dependent on Will for advice and emotional support. She lives on a very large farm, which has become too expensive and difficult to maintain. Will convinces Alice to give him half of the property in exchange for his weekly visits. She considers calling her family to consult with them, but Will tells her she shouldn’t bother them, and she signs a deed to transfer fifty percent of the property to him in exchange for his visits.
Will immediately sells the land to LJ Hooker Pty Ltd for $500,000. Alice falls into a coma and requires 24-hour medical attention. Her family has the power of attorney to manage Alice’s affairs, and wants to sell the large property to cover the cost of Alice’s care. They discover that half the property has been transferred to Will, and want to have her contract with Will rescinded and seek to recover the property.
Advise Alice’s family if there is a valid contract with Will, and any remedies to which they may be entitled under common law. Make reference to relevant case law to support your answer.