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No Will? No Choice!

By Rebecca Collins - 16 Jul 2012

What happens if you die without leaving a Will? Dying intestate (without leaving a Will) means your estate will be distributed in accordance with the Administration Act 1969, with certain family members taking priority.

If you die leaving a spouse, civil union partner or de facto partner (Spouse) and children, your Spouse would take all personal chattels and the first $155,000 of your estate.  The balance of your estate would then be divided into three parts; one part for your Spouse, and the remaining two parts for your children.  Imagine your children or step-children suddenly owning two thirds of your family home.  This situation can also cause considerable problems if you leave minor children.

Many people do not realise that if they die leaving a Spouse but no children or grandchildren, their parent or parents would be entitled to receive a one third share of their residuary estate. If you die intestate, leaving no family member listed under the Administration Act 1969, your estate would go to the crown as bona vacantia.

As the old saying goes, "one of the only certainties we have in life is death".   It is therefore essential that you have a Will which provides for those you want to benefit, not those the statute dictates should benefit.  We all have different relationships, family dynamics and obligations and it is for you to nominate the family members, friends or charitable organisations who will benefit from your estate.

If you would like to create a Will or update an existing one, please contact Catherine Atchison or Rebecca Collins.


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