What is Intestacy?
If you pass away without a Will, the law (known as the Rules of Intestacy) sets out how your assets will be distributed, who will receive your assets and who is eligible to manage and finalise your Estate. The person who is eligible to manage and finalise your Estate is known as the Administrator.
For example, if you pass away and leave:
- A spouse and children from your marriage to your current spouse, your spouse will receive your assets and will be appointed as your Administrator.
- A spouse and children from a previous relationship (regardless of whether you have contact with them), your spouse and your children will receive your assets and are all eligible to be appointed as your Administrator.
- No spouse or children, your biological parents (regardless of whether you have contact with them) will receive your assets and are both eligible to be appointed as your Administrator.
In addition to the Rules of Intestacy setting out who will receive your assets and who is eligible to be appointed as your Administrator, the process of finalising your Estate is far more difficult than finalising the Estate of a person who left a Will.
This is because your Estate (subject to the nature and value of your assets) cannot be finalised until an Administrator has been appointed by the Supreme Court. This process involves:
- Making searches with all law firms and banks in the area local to where you live at the time of your passing to ascertain whether they hold a Will on your behalf.
- Obtaining a variety of birth, marriage and death certificates for all persons who are to receive your Estate or who may be eligible to be appointed as your Administrator. This process is further complicated if any of your family do not have their birth or marriage certificates, or were born or married overseas.
- Putting all relevant family members on notice of your intention to be appointed as the Administrator.
However, if you pass away with a Will, none of the above tasks are necessary.
If you pass away without a Will, the Supreme Court (after all legal requirements have been satisfied) will issue a document known as a Grant of Letters of Administration. That document will then allow your Administrator to finalise your Estate and distribute your assets.
Our team of Estate Planning lawyers are all experienced in obtaining Grants of Letters of Administration and can guide your proposed Administrator through the process in a stress free and compassionate manner.
For more information on Intestacy contact Krystle Wolthers on (02) 4626 5077 or email Krystle on firstname.lastname@example.org