… and if you haven’t got one done up already – you should get it done as soon as you possibly can – especially if you’re an Aboriginal or Islander Artist in Western Australia! Whether you do this:
You need to act – now! You need to find out the facts about what happens to your assets when your gone from this world and you need to be making these decisions for yourself, or with trustworthy and informed consent!
What you might not realise is that here in WA we have remnant laws left over from a ‘bygone’ age. If you are a Non-aboriginal person and you have no will you may well have the Public Trustee manage your effects when your gone and your immediate family members can determine how best to share out those things left behind. This includes all manners of your assets (unless obviously stated otherwise), your own family can determine – on their own – what should be done with what and the Public Trustee in this state then makes it happen.
For Aboriginal and Islander people in WA it’s a completely different affair. Their family CAN’T determine these things on their behalf – only the government can. That’s not to say that this doesn’t happen naturally – most things in Aboriginal families are sorted out by the family immediately on the spot, but actual assets – things of real (and potential) monetary value – are a different matter entirely. Especially if they’re artworks bound up in other places, with other agreements and these have the potential to continue to earn re-sale royalties or copyright returns after you have passed away. Your own family is not able to lay claim to any of these assets if you have no will determining this for them.
In WA, the state government does this on an Aboriginal person’s behalf and there’s no choice about it! Not like other Non-aboriginal families – your son or daughter can walk in and identify themselves, prove his connections and credentials and take up your affairs on your behalf. So, you can choose to do this yourself – or it can be done for you via the Public Trustee… you – have the choice.
Where’s your jaw right about now?
Hope it was where mine was when I heard this news.
I now need to go out and do a new will, because as far as the law stands here in WA, my children and wider family have no rights in determining the return of any of my assets to them – or my partner – simply because I am an Aboriginal Australian. How’s them apples – as our American friends are want to say eh? (No irony lost here I hope)
Regardless of whether you’re an Aboriginal person or not – you should think realy hard on this Will business too. If you’re an artist of any kind – you should DEFINITELY be sorting out a Will. You’re artworks, writings, songs etc – all of it – has the enormous potential to continue to keep on earning a dollar after your gone. You should determine for yourself who it is that should get this – becuase if you don’t – it risks ending up in someone else’s pocket and not your families.
One thing you also might not know about your effects being sorted by the Public Trustee is that they take a fairly healthy fee from ‘you’ upon managing your affairs – this usually means they take a percentage cost from the total value of all your assets as they distributed out to you family members and friends. Do you REALLY want to be giving the government any of YOUR money when you get yourself going from this world?
Belongum – Out!