17th February 2006, 11:34 PM
To all the ex wives............
Just came across this article in www.heraldsun.com.au
AN eccentric millionaire left just $1 each to two ex-wives in a final insult from the grave.
Despite amassing a fortune estimated at $10 million, Peter Shellard -- who suffered a bizarre death last year -- had the last laugh at his exes.
"I leave one dollar ... to be paid as soon as practicable after probate granted," he wrote in his one-page will.
Legal sources said the North Caulfield millionaire may have hoped the $1 bequests would be a legal barrier to either of the ex-wives contesting his will.
Shellard, 56, who once bid for the Rolls-Royce company, was found dead at home last May. He was bound with dog leads, rope and electrical cords.
In an unsigned 2002 will, Mr Shellard left $1 each to ex-wives Deborah Jane Shellard and Elizabeth Anne Shellard.
His fortune will be split between his three children – Jennifer, 22, Sarah, 13, and Claire, 11. It will become available to them when they turn 25.
His second wife, now Elizabeth La China, said she burst out laughing when she learned of the $1 bequest.
Asked what she would do with the single gold coin, she said: "Probably flip it -- see if it comes to heads or tails.
"I don't need any money. I'm happy for them (the children)."
In an affidavit, Mr Shellard's brother John said he saw an original will "which I believe was in the same form as the will downloaded from the deceased's computer" about two years before his death.
It is believed a signed will has since been discovered, but lawyers for John Shellard refused to comment this week.
Neither ex-wife is expected to contest the will.
First wife Deborah Shellard said she was aware of the $1 bequest, but said there was no animosity between her and Mr Shellard.
Known as Jane, she is the mother of Jennifer.
Mrs La China, mother of the two younger girls, said it was possible the $1 bequest was a legal tactic to show he had not forgotten his ex-wives.
"So then you can't say `What about me?' " she said. "Maybe there was a legal reason to it, but I can't really believe that because he had been divorced from Jane for 18 years and me for eight.
"I can't really believe he would seriously think we would try to get more money for ourselves.
"I think it was a joke."
Mrs La China said she did not believe she was left $1 as an act of malice.
"We had many years in the family courts but we were great friends in the end," she said.
Mrs La China, who has remarried, divorced Mr Shellard in 1997 after six years. There was a settlement at the time.
In an affidavit filed to the courts, Mr Shellard is listed as a shareholder in companies including Kellow-Falkiner Imports and Kellow-Falkiner Motors, Landro, Brenchley Gardens, Colours Bath Oil and Trishpona.
He had commercial properties in Bay St, Brighton, two in Warburton East and one in South Rd, East Bentleigh.
His home in Caulfield North stands on almost one hectare. Documents state there are cars at the residence with significant value. It is believed there may be up to 10 cars.
John Shellard has been given a limited grant of letters of administration authorising him to collect rent, pay outgoings, preserve assets and such.
Mrs La China's solicitor, Barry Fry, said the $1 bequest would not stop someone from contesting a will and might even provoke them to do so.
"I thought that's a stupid thing to do," he said.
Mr Shellard's girlfriend at the time of his death, Shirley Withers, 38, has been charged with murder and two counts of incitement to murder.
A court heard last April that Ms Withers murdered the businessman while trying to force him to sign over his millions.
She has not yet entered a plea and will appear for a committal hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court on March 27.
17th February 2006, 11:37 PM