Bioethics News

Children contest will of Nitschke follower

The late William Kent (Bill) O’Brien  

A healthy 89-year-old Australian man has committed suicide under the inspiration of Philip Nitschke and has left nearly his entire estate to Exit International, Nitschke’s assisted suicide group.

Bill O’Brien, who lived in Perth, went to a hotel room and took a lethal dose of Nembutal in July last year. He left his A$1.8 million estate to Exit International to be spent on hiring a full-time political lobbyist, but only $5,000 each to his son and daughter. He was a personal friend of Dr Nitschke and one of three directors of Exit.

Dr Nitschke said that Mr O’Brien was not close to his children and that in any case they are “wealthy adults”.

His son claims that Mr O’Brien owed him $300,000 at the time of his death. His daughter says that the death was very hurtful. “When he died, he did not have an illness and was in good health for his age,” she told The West Australian. “It was a great shock that he took his life, especially without saying goodbye. He went to a hotel and followed the Exit protocol. He left letters on his bed.

The children are contesting the will. 

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