Jane was 35 years old, free from any commitments, successful, and off to see the world. While she had a wonderful relationship with her brother and sister, she had a very bitter relationship with her mother, who she had not spoken to in 15 years. Her father had passed away when she was 10.

On her travels she was very sadly killed in a motor bike accident. Her body was brought home for her funeral, and it was discovered she did not have a Will.

Her siblings, who also had a bitter relationship with their mother, were horrified when the lawyer they contacted advised that as she had passed away with no partner or children, and had a living parent, all of her estate would go to their mother. This is not what their sister would have wanted.

It is hard to think about your own mortality and what will happen to those we love when we have passed away. It also seems like a very distant issue for some of us but there is no telling what may happen, whether you are involved in an accident, or get a horrible health diagnosis which leaves you with little time for anything.

Alternatively you may have no assets now, but that hopefully will not always be the case.

Having a Will prepared tends to drop to the bottom of people’s lists.

It is important, if you do have preferences about who inherits from your estate, that you create a Will. If you do not have a Will then there can be unintended consequences when you do pass away.

How your estate will be distributed if you have no Will is set out in the Administration Act 1969.

If you pass away with no partner or children, but have a living parent, that parent will get everything.

Alternatively if you pass away with a partner and children then your partner will get the “prescribed amount” (as at 2023 this is $155,000) with the rest being split 1/3 to your partner and 2/3 to your children (whether they are minors or adults).

This is one of the biggest unintended consequences as most people want their partner to get everything and expect them to leave what is left to the children when they pass away.

If you have no living relatives (partners, children, parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts or uncles) that are able to inherit under the Administration Act, then the Crown will inherit your estate.

If you would like to make a Will, it is important to take legal advice to make sure your Will correctly details your wishes.


Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-price Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At Rainey Collins we have an experienced team who can answer your questions and put you on the right track.

Andie Donnelly

Asset Protection Lawyer