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28 June 2017

Mastering the human factor: In Conversation with Chloe Kopilovic, Wills and Estates

Published on 28 June 2017

Chloe Kopilovic’s enthusiasm for her area of practice, wills and estate planning, is hard to miss. Having moved from Western Australia to Queensland with her family in 2011 she completed her degree at the Queensland University of Technology and was admitted as a solicitor in 2013.

Chloe, now an associate with Sajen Legal, is in the process of completing a Master of Laws (Applied Law) with a major in Wills & Estates with the College of Law, and hopes to become an Accredited Specialist in Succession Law. In addition, Chloe is the youngest sitting member of the Council for the Queensland Law Society.

She is actively involved in the local startup community as a director and board member of Spark Bureau, the Sunshine Coast’s newest startup accelerator.

Insights spoke to Chloe about what makes her passionate about wills and estate planning, what she finds most challenging about the field, and her predictions for the practice area over the next ten years.

“I knew early on that I enjoyed working with people,” said Chloe. “In the early days of my university degree, I worked for Commonwealth Bank and was face to face with customers every day. I immediately connected with wills and estates law because it is an area of practice that is all about the client, and working through their circumstances.”

As a lawyer, she emphasizes a strong balance of theoretical knowledge and empathy.

“Not only does wills and estates expose you to an array of different areas of law, which drives me to learn as much as possible, but it also requires you to be able to interact and deal with people from all walks of life.”

The human factor – the fact that clients come to wills and estate at the worst time in their lives – is what Chloe finds to be most affirming about what she does.

“In wills and estates, many clients are going through a difficult time, whether they have lost a loved one, or recently been through a separation or divorce. I see it as my role to guide people through the maze of legal speak that we take for granted as lawyers.

“There is nothing more rewarding than when a client tells you that you have brought clarity to their issue. The gratitude expressed by some clients always makes me feel privileged to do what I do.”

However, the human factor can also be a complicating issue.

“Often in wills and estates, there is more than meets the eye in some matters. Clients can sometimes be selective in what they tell you. It is up to us, as practitioners, to ask the right questions. However, having said that, how you ask certain questions will vary from person to person. I am always looking for new ways to improve the way I communicate with clients.”

As for the future of the field, Chloe sees wills and estates as evolving alongside changing family structures.

“Wills and estates is a dynamic area of practice that is always evolving,” said Chloe. “We will see expansion of its laws particularly in relation to blended families and applications for provision by step-children, international wills and estate planning where there are assets in multiple jurisdictions and, potentially, claims against superannuation death benefits.

“There is certainly never a dull moment. I genuinely love what I do, and am excited to see what developments are to come.”