If someone dies without a will, the rules of Intestacy apply as follows:
From 1 July 2020 the spouse gets the first $480,700.00 and all the chattels. This amount increases annually on 1 July as gazetted by the government. (If you are interested to know about amounts that previously applied, please contact us to discuss). The spouse can apply to elect to retain real property instead of cash. The definition of spouse has been extended to include domestic partner and registered caring partner whether of the same or opposite gender.
If the assets are more than $480,700.00 and the deceased and the spouse have children, then the children get nothing. If the children are the deceased’s and step-children of the spouse, then the children get half of any assets over $480,700.00 and the spouse gets the other half.
If the deceased left multiple partners – it gets complicated. If a distribution agreement has been made, then the next of kin with the right to administer the estate becomes the Legal Personal Representative and distributes the Estate. If there are multiple partners then who is the next of kin would need to be included in the distribution agreement or it would need to be settled by the court. The Legal Personal Representative can give three months’ notice that they will distribute Estate equally, but the partners will need to agree to this. If not, the Courts will decide. An aggrieved partner can apply to the Supreme Court for further and better provision from the Estate.
If there is no spouse, then the whole Estate is distributed in the following order to:
- Children, then
- grandchildren then
- great grandchildren then
- parents then
- siblings then
- nieces and nephews then
- grandparents then
- aunts and uncles then
If there are none of these relatives then it is distributed to the Crown.
As you can see, dying without a Will is complicated, so it is advisable to have a valid Will at all times.
For more information contact our Wills & Estates legal team for advice and assistance.