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April 19, 2021

Papua New Guineas Dying Without Wills

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The regional Public Curators Office in Lae saysthe high number Papua New Guineas dying without wills has created a complicated web of corruption.


Public Curator, Kali Ralewa, said people are going tothe lands departmentthe National Housing Corporation to have land and housing titles of deceased owners altered illegally.

This has beenthe source of ongoing court cases betweenthe state and unscrupulous.


Every year, inthe Momase region,the Public curators office handles close to 200 cases in which people die intestate – or die without leaving wills. It is a complicated situation that has plaguedthe public curator’s office for many years.


Kali Ralewa says 9 out of every 10 Papua New Guineas who own property and ther assets die without a will andthe responsibility of distributing those assets falls tothe curator’s office. 


“It’s difficult when you have multiple parties all claiming ownership.”

Overthe last 10 years,the public curator’s office has been very much underfunded.


That means officers have been unable to travel to ther parts ofthe country to identify family members and find vital documents that may be held atthe village church of district hospital.


Leroy Rogers is one example of a person disadvantaged bythe absence of a will.


Leroy isthe biological son ofthe owner of a property in Lae.  His cousin has also laid claim tothe property andthe case has been taken to court.  


“When my fther dlied, he didn’trsquo;t leave a will,” he said. “I had to find out throughthe public curator’s office.”

What’s even more disturbing isthe corruption that is creeping into a process that is supposed to protectthe interests ofthe deceased andtheir family members.


The curator’s office is currently battling people who have attempted to swithch land and house titles owned by people who have dlied without wills.


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