Wills & estates

About Wills & estates

For many artists, their intellectual property in their artistic and creative output is one of the most valuable and enduring assets in their estate. If they pass away intestate, this asset is often neglected or not understand, which can lead not only to a failure to protect the artist’s artistic  legacy, but to unchecked copyright infringements and a loss of value to the artist’s family. This is particularly true for Australia’s Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander artists living in remote and regional areas. Arts Law has delivered educational wills workshops throughout Indigenous communities in all states helping artists to make wills and, through its casework service, assisted many Indigenous families to manage intestate estates. It has campaigned tirelessly for amendment to the discriminatory Western Australian legislation which takes the right to manage the estate of a deceased Aboriginal person away from family and vests it in the Public Trustee. Arts Law also advocates for improved education about the importance of wills and how to draft a will, especially among Indigenous artists and artists from minority or disadvantaged backgrounds.

Mabel King exhibition to take place after agreement is reached with the Public Trustee

The long-awaited Mabel King exhibition will be held at the Japingka Gallery, Fremantle from 4 May until 6 June 2012. King was a respected Ngarinyin Elder who painted at the Mowanjum Art and Culture Centre. Sadly, in 2006 she passed away intestate. Following negotiations between the Arts Law Centre of Australia and the WA Public Trustee, the remaining paintings have now been released for sale. We are excited to see these beautiful works, which offer a bold expression of her cultural story. This work was undertaken as part of the Artists in the Black pro-bono casework service.

West Australian Aborigines challenge ‘racist’ law on wills

Executive director Robyn Ayres is quoted today in the Australian newspaper's article calling for the Western Australian government to repeal laws discriminating against Aboriginal people who die without making a will. Read the full article here.

WA Governments administration of Aboriginal wills and estates

The board of the Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Cultural Centre (KALACC) passed a resolution last week urging the Government of Western Australia to act to repeal those provisions of the Aboriginal Affairs Planning Authority Act of 1972 which discriminate against Aboriginal people. When an Aboriginal person passes away without a will in Western Australia, their estate can only be administered by the Public Trustee in contrast to the estates of non-Aboriginal people. The Board’s resolution stated: “We regard this provision to be discriminatory and anachronistic and to have no place in modern society in the year 2012.” This issue was first highlighted in the September 2006 Report of the Law Reform Commission of Western Australia. Wes Morris of KALACC observed that “the issue of course impacts particularly on Aboriginal visual arts centres and affects the families of those artists who do not have wills.”

Wills Project

ABC Radio National's Law Report program recently produced a story discussing the importance of drafting wills for Indigenous Artists. Arts Law's executive director Robyn Ayres was a guest on the program.

Freehills Advises on The Aboriginal Planning Authority

In February 2009 the Arts Law Centre of Australia approached Freehills to provide legal advice, on a pro bono basis, concerning the application of certain provisions of Aboriginal Affairs Planning Authority Act 1972 (WA) (Act) to Indigenous persons. Read more here.

Arts Law seeks improved intestacy laws for Indigenous West Australians

Arts Law is lobbying the West Australian Government for changes to the laws concerning the administration of the estate of intestate Indigenous people. Delwyn Everard explains why these changes are required. Read more here.

Arts Law seeks improved intestacy laws for Indigenous West Australians

Arts Law is lobbying the West Australian Government for changes to the laws concerning the administration of the estate of intestate Indigenous people. Delwyn Everard explains why these changes are required. Read more here