Monday, July 14, 2008

Ledger's will to be fought out in Australia

HEATH Ledger's daughter Matilda Rose's claim to his estate will be decided in an Australian court.

The executors of the late actor's will, drawn up before Matilda's birth, have applied for probate in the West Australian Supreme Court in Perth.

While Ledger left everything to his parents and three sisters, it is understood they have legal advice that under WA law, the toddler is entitled to the lion's share.

However her mother, actor Michelle Williams, will have to officially lodge a claim with the court supported by an affidavit which could end up in the public domain, legal experts said.

Matilda had no idea of the drama on the other side of the world as she was carried on the shoulders of her dad's best friend, Trevor Di Carlo, in New York last week.

Di Carlo, 29, mates with Ledger from the age of three, has been staying with Williams in Brooklyn, spending as much time as he can with two-year-old Matilda. It has led to speculation of a romance.

Trevor's mum, Dianne Di Carlo, told The Daily Telegraph yesterday that he was just very close friends with Williams.

"Michelle and he are the best of friends," Ms Di Carlo said.

"It is a very special time for him to be with Matilda."

Ledger's father Kim, mother Sally Bell and sister Kate, 32, will be catching up with Matilda while in New York to attend today's premiere of the Batman sequel The Dark Knight, which has led to calls for Ledger to be nominated for a posthumous Oscar for his chilling portrayal of the Joker.

The executors of Ledger's estate, businessman Robert Collins and accountant Mark Dyson, late last week advertised in Perth's daily newspaper for "creditors and other persons" having claims on the estate to lodge them by August 11.

This is to ensure all debts are paid before the estate is distributed, local lawyer Edwin Abdo said.

According to documents filed in a New York court after Ledger died in January, he only had $145,000 worth of assets in the US, but his entire fortune, mostly held in Australian trusts, is likely to be worth up to $20 million.

Mr Dyson yesterday said he had no comment.

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