By Michael Hitch
Branco Macura, a gay man from Serbia, lost his partner, Milorad Adzic, in 2016. Now, after the death of his partner, Branco is fighting solicitors and community members in order to keep what is rightfully his.
Branco is an Australian Army veteran and Milorad is a World War 2 veteran, and they are both migrants to Australia from Serbia. Branco initially moved into Milorad’s Liverpool property as a tenant, and in time became Milorad’s partner.
He also became carer as Milorad aged, and helped with the maintenance of the property’s many units. Despite an obvious age gap, the de facto couple weathered many problems together, including Branco’s diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and Milorad’s deteriorating health.
“He was a former solider in Serbia, and I was in the Australian defence force a long time,” Branco said. “We met in a church. He was quiet at first, but he became comfortable around me soon enough. Soon enough we became friends, from there the friendship became a relationship and the rest became history.”
“When he passed I felt… well I felt very sad. You lose your partner and of course you feel very sad. He wakes up every day and then one day he doesn’t wake up. So, then I called the ambulance and the police, then I buried him and that was that.”
In November 2016, Milorad passed away in his sleep from cardiac arrest at 92 years old. Despite Branco developing pancreatic cancer earlier, Milorad died first and left behind his $11 million property and a bereaved Branco.
Before his death, Milorad had gathered the tenants of his property together to announce that he wanted his partner Branco to inherit the land when he died.
When asked about the event, Branco’s current lawyer, Migration Agent Alex Tees reported that Milorad had said, “My partner Branco has never asked me for anything, he does a lot for me so when I go, I want Branco to have the property for me”.
Tees added that as Branco was expected to die before Milorad, the couple did not bother to formally transfer the property, instead relying on their tenants as witnesses to the event.
“He [Milorad] handed over the keys, the title… everything. I think because Branco contracted cancer shortly after that, they never formalised it. They never went to the lawyers and got them to transfer it over. It makes sense,” Tees said.
Now at 70 years old, Branco is being treated for pancreatic cancer and is currently undertaking his second round of chemotherapy.
Mr Tees said that while witnesses were present at the informal transfer, the case regarding the validity of Branco and Milorad’s de facto relationship still went to the Supreme Court.
It may be seen as interesting, to say the least, that all the lawyers involved are of Serb origin, including Branco Macuras’ former lawyers.
Branco made the error of hiring a Serbian solicitor and they all tried to get him out of the property.
“It ended up in the Supreme Court and unfortunately for Branco, when all the solicitors got together, he was very, very sick from chemo. They did a deal among themselves, and the upshot of it was that a contract was written up during a mediation session, and Branco was to get a hundred grand.
“Bear in mind this is an $11 million property. Then minus legal fees, he would’ve ended up with only thirty-grand. And on the day of the mediation he was simply too sick to understand a rough handwritten document.
“He believed that what he was signing was an agreement about a solicitor’s legal fees. He didn’t know it said, ‘move out and you’ll only get a hundred grand’, so that’s what the current proceedings are about. It’s whether these agreements can be held against him.”
Branco also stated that items were added to the rough hand written document after he signed it. He said that the questioning of his relationship was devastating and that the previous court proceedings were exhausting his already poor health..
“They tried to not recognise that we had a relationship, a genuine de facto relationship that they ignored. They keep coming to where I live, I’m still here and I’m not going but I don’t know how much longer I can keep doing this. I don’t know how much longer I’ve got,” he said.
The battle isn’t over for Branco yet with legal proceedings already underway regarding Branco’s signing of the mediation contract.
Hopefully, Branco has a little bit more fight left in him for the future.