Wills Amendment (International Wills) Bill 2011
Written on the 27 March 2012
I also am pleased to rise and speak on the Wills Amendment (International Wills) Bill 2011. Other members in the chamber who are in support of this bill have raised the point that although it is relatively minor in terms of its technical nature, it will have major implications for many people throughout Victoria. I commend the Attorney-General for bringing it to Victoria's attention and into the Parliament last November. I understand the Australian Capital Territory has also adopted a similar bill, and other states are in the process of undertaking that as well and will be doing so later this year.
As has been highlighted, a number of countries are signatories to the convention. The convention has been ratified in Belgium, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Cyprus, Ecuador, France, Italy, Nigeria, Portugal, Slovenia and some Canadian states. I also understand that the United States and the United Kingdom are signatories but have not yet ratified the convention. This convention pertains to a number of countries, and for the Victorian community -- which is a large multicultural community made up of people from all parts of the world -- it will give peace of mind to those people who can apply this legislation to those areas they may have come from.
It was put in place back in July 2010, when there was a decision of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General from all states and territories to adopt the uniform law into local legislation. It will allow Australia to formally accede to the convention, and it will provide a consistent approach to the recognition of international wills across all Australian jurisdictions. As has been highlighted, I think there is a time lapse of around six months for that to take place, as it needs all Australian jurisdictions to have passed similar laws. The convention states that that commencement should take place after a nation has acceded, so we look forward to other states and territories partaking in that process later this year.
[Hon. M. P. Pakula -- Partaking of.]
I thank Mr Pakula for that correction.
This bill is a relatively straightforward, technical bill that will provide great peace of mind to many people across Victorian communities. It will give individuals who have assets in multiple jurisdictions the ability to have a simplified process.
In conclusion, no matter where somebody has come from or the language they speak, it is good for them to know they are able to have an international will so that their assets and property will be disposed of in the manner they wish. I would urge all Victorians to ensure that they have a legitimate will so they can know that, following their death, their assets and wishes are recognised. I commend the bill to the house.