If you die without a Will the law sets out how your Estate will be divided, regardless of what you or your family might want.  This is what happens:

  • If you have a spouse or partner but no children or parents, the whole Estate goes to the spouse or partner.
  • If there is a spouse or partner and children, your spouse or partner receives all personal chattels plus the first $155,000, plus one third of the remainder.  The children share two thirds of the remainder.
  • If there are children but no spouse or partner, the whole Estate goes equally to the children.
  • If there are parents but no spouse, partner or children, the whole Estate goes to the parents.
  • If there is no spouse, partner, children or parents then the whole Estate passes to certain blood relatives i.e. brothers, sisters, grandparents or aunts and uncles.
  • If there are no blood relatives as above then the whole Estate goes to the Government.

There are other disadvantages if you don’t leave a Will.

  • The process of having an Administrator appointed is more complicated and takes much longer.  For example, it is a requirement that a search be made for any illegitimate children, and that extensive enquiries are undertaken to try to find a Will.  This greatly increases administration costs.
  • Where there isn’t a Will, the High Court must appoint a single Administrator.  If there is more than one person with a right to apply, eg several siblings, they must agree on who the Administrator should be.  In a divided family agreement might be very difficult and this can cause long delays and further expense.

All these disadvantages can be very simply avoided by making a Will.  Weighed against the peace of mind obtained, the relatively small amount you need to invest in getting a Will done is great value.