BY JILL PENGELLEY
A CENTRAL register of wills is being proposed for South Australia, to avoid the frustration and cost relatives inherit when a will goes missing.
The registry, if adopted, would be the only one in Australia, and would record the existence of private wills and their locations.
NSW is the only state to have set up a public will register but its pilot scheme was abandoned last year for lack of use.
The idea is one of three put forward in an issues paper by the SA Law Reform Institute. The others are a will bank, where wills would be stored, or to have neither.
Simon Hilton’s father Dennis DeGilio died in January and Mr Hilton said he was still trying to find his will.
“I was shocked to find wills don’t have to be registered,’’ he said. “In some cases you’re looking at millions of dollars of estate. It makes no sense at all.”
Mr Hilton, of Morphett Vale, is contesting what he believes is an old will his father revised after breaking up with his defacto partner. He said a wills register could have saved him thousands of dollars in legal fees.
Julie Height, senior associate of wills and estates at DBH Lawyers, said a register would eliminate stress at a traumatic time for families.