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.
Arts Law's resources for artists looking for instructions on what to do when an artist passes away with or without leaving a will.
Great news! The repeal of unfair WA intestacy laws came into full effect on Wednesday 7 August 2013.
An advocacy victory for Arts Law and Aboriginal people in WA was achieved on 8 November 2012 with both Houses of Parliament passing a Bill to repeal unfair intestacy laws.
Arts Law is very proud of the hard work and commitment of our team in contributing to the proposed repeal of discriminatory provisions in the AAPA Act.
As reported in Perth Now issued on the July 5th 2012, “THE WA government plans to repeal 40-year-old legislation that deals with the estates of Aboriginal people in a discriminatory way”.
The Hon Jenny Macklin’s office has written to the Arts Law Centre complimenting it on its efforts to reduce discrimination against Indigenous people, and confirming that it has directly approached the Western Australian government in relation to the issue of its racially discriminatory intestacy laws.
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.