dying intestate

3 Mar

What Happens If I Die Without A Will?

Posted at 16:23h

If you were to pass away unexpectedly and did not have a valid will in place, the law decides who is the beneficiary of your assets. This is what is known as ‘dying intestate’.

These rules apply to everyone and do not take into account an individual’s wishes or specific situation (as a valid will would).

If you were to die without a will or a valid will, then an application for a Grant of Letters of Administration will need to be made to the Supreme Court of your state or territory. In most instances, the grant is made to the next of kin of the deceased (e.g. the spouse, domestic partner or a child of the deceased).

The Supreme Court that you apply to will depend on the state/territory of your death, or where you lived or where the assets of your estate are located.

For example, if you died in NSW and the majority of your assets are within NSW, you would apply to the NSW Supreme Court. If the assets however were situated in Western Australia, the application would need to be made to the Western Australian Supreme Court.

There are specific rules regarding the distribution of a person’s estate if a Will was not left. If the person died and left behind a partner, then all of the estate goes to them. If the deceased person had children from a previous relationship, some of the estate may also go to them (depending on the amount left in the estate),

If the person had no partner or children, the order that the estate is bequeathed to (without a valid will in place) is:

  1. Parents
  2. Siblings
  3. Grandparents
  4. Uncles & Aunts
  5. Cousins

If you are involved in a de facto relationship, there are specific conditions that need to be met for your partner to receive your estate if there is no valid will in place. These conditions include:

  • Lived in a domestic or de facto relationship for two years or
  • Have a child together or
  • Have formally registered your relationship

The best way to ensure that your estate is left to the people you want to inherit it is to create a valid Will. Speak with a legal professional for assistance with sorting out your affairs.

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