Should a person die without a valid Will an "intestacy" arises. This means that the deceased's estate would be distributed as per rules set out in legislation. Some of the downfalls of intestacy include not having control over who benefits from your estate, who administers your estate or who is appointed the guardian of your children while they are minors.
New Intestacy provisions came into place on 1 November 2017. Under these new laws if a person dies without a valid Will, dependant on the next of kin that survives the deceased, their estate would be distributed in the following ways:
- One partner and no children, then the partner takes the whole of the estate.
- One partner and children of that relationship, then that partner will benefit from the whole of the estate.
- One partner and children born of a different relationship, then the partner will receive all the personal chattels, the first $451,909 and 50% of the balance with the remaining 50% amongst the children.
- No partners, the estate is divided equally amongst children and if a child of the deceased has already passed away, that deceased child's children take the share of their parent equally.
- No partners and no children, then the estate is divided equally between parents of the deceased.
- If survived only by siblings then the estate is divided equally between the siblings of the deceased, if a sibling has predeceased the deceased then their share will pass to any children they have equally.
- If survived only by grandparents, then they will receive the balance of the estate in equal shares.
- If survived only by aunts and uncles, then they will receive the balance of the estate in equal shares. Should any of them predecease the deceased then to any children they have, being the deceased's cousins, in equal shares.
The remotest next of kin that can inherit from an intestate estate is first cousins. Should the deceased not have any cousins then the estate will go to the Government.
The provisions are more complex should the deceased have more than one partner at the time of their death.
To avoid the downfalls of intestacy it is important to put a Will in place so you have control and say over who is to administer your estate and who you would like to benefit from your estate.
If you do not already have a Will in place, or would like to make some amendments, please get in touch with us.