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What happens if you die without a Will?

 

According to the NSW Trustee and Guardian, 45% of Australians die without a valid Will. If you die without a Will, you die intestate. This can cause unnecessary delay, costs and stress for your loved ones. It may also mean that those you did not intend to benefit may be entitled to your estate.

If you pass away without a Will in place then the law sets out who your estate will pass to. Your assets will be distributed according to a pre determined formula set out in chapter 4 of the Succession Act 2006 (NSW) with certain family member or spouses receiving a defined percentage of your estate.

The persons entitled would be required to make an application to the Supreme Court of NSW for a grant of letters of administration. The person claiming the intestacy will need to produce evidence of their relationship to the deceased in order to satisfy the Supreme Court of NSW that they should be appointed as administrator of the estate.

Furthermore, if you die intestate and you leave no persons entitled then under section 136 of the Succession Act 2006 (NSW) the State Government is entitled to the whole of the intestate estate.

Hypothetical scenario

Peter has no spouse and no children and his parents have passed away. Peter has a brother Bob and a sister Judy. However, he has had no relationship with Judy for over 20 years.  Peter passes away without a Will.

Who would Peter's estate pass to?

As Peter has died intestate his estate will be distributed according to the Succession Act 2006 (NSW). Peter's estate would be distributed equally to his two siblings, Bob and Judy. Despite the fact that Peter has been estranged from his sister for 20 years, under the rules of intestacy, Judy would still receive half of Peter's estate.

If you die without a Will, the assets that you have worked hard for during your life may pass to a family member you do not wish to benefit or if you have no surviving family or spouse then it may pass to the State Government.

To ensure peace of mind for you and your family contact the estate planning team at Kells to discuss preparing your Will and ensure that your estate is distributed in accordance with your wishes.

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