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What happens if you pass away without a Will?

Passing away without a Will is known as dying intestate and your estate will then be distributed according to the Administration Act 1969, unless a spouse or defacto partner chooses to claim under the Property Act 1976.

If a person dies intestate, an administrator is appointed by the court. The administrator will get their authority to act as your personal representative by applying to the High Court for an order to administer.

Who gets what?
There is a basic order of priority that is set out by the law and is dependent on what family members exist.

If you are survived by a spouse or partner and have no children
If you have no children, but your parents are still alive; your spouse or partner will receive all of your personal chattels, the first $155,000 of your estate and a 2/3 share of the rest of your estate. The remaining 1/3 of your estate will then go to your parents.

If you are survived by a spouse or partner and children
Your spouse or partner will receive all of your personal chattels, the first $155,000 of the estate and a 1/3 share of the rest of your estate. In regards to the children, they will receive the remaining 2/3 of your estate.

If you are survived by your children and have no spouse or partner
In this case, all of your estate would be distributed to your children.

If you have no spouse or partner or children
Your estate would go to your parents. In the event that you have no surviving parents, your estate would go to your grandparents, or if none, then to your aunts and uncles. In the event that none of these relatives can be found, your estate would then go to the state.

Passing away without a Will can result in additional stress for your family. Additionally, should you have children it is important to have a Will in order to nominate a guardian for your children in the event that neither parent is able to care for them.

If you would like to ensure you have the right level of insurance for your estate please contact us.

If you would like more information on creating a Will, feel free to contact our friend Kelvin Mackie from Mackie & Co Limited by clicking here. Kelvin has over 25 years experience as a lawyer and can provide a practical solution for you and your family.
Image courtesy of arztsamui / Freedigitalphotos.net