Whilst a Will is probably one of the most important documents that a person will ever sign, current statistics show that almost one in two Australians do not have a Will or if they have a Will, it is invalid.
If someone was to die and either does not have a Will, or leaves a Will which is invalid then it means that person has died “intestate”. When this occurs, the Rules of Intestacy as contained in the Succession Act 1981 (Qld) determine how the deceased’s estate assets will be distributed. This includes real assets, bank accounts, shareholdings and other assets that the deceased owned at the date of their death.
How is an intestate estate distributed?
Married with no children
If the deceased was married with no children then the whole estate is given to the surviving spouse.
Married with children
If the deceased was married with children and a surviving spouse then:
- if the value of the estate is less than $150,000.00 excluding household chattels, then the whole estate is given to the surviving spouse; or
- if the value exceeds $150,000.00 excluding household chattels, then the surviving spouse is given household chattels, $150,000.00; and
- if there is only one child then one half (1/2) of the remainder of the deceased’s estate; or
- if there are two or more children then one third (1/3) of the remainder of the estate; and
- the children receive the remainder of the estate.
No surviving spouse or single with children
If there is no surviving spouse or the deceased is single with children at the date of death then the surviving children take the whole estate of the deceased in equal shares.
Single with no children
If the deceased was single with no children then the deceased’s parents stand to inherit the entirety of the deceased’s estate should they survive the deceased. If the deceased’s parents predecease the deceased then the deceased’s siblings will inherit the entire estate in equal parts.
Ensure your wishes are clear
If a person dies without a Will, it is unlikely that their estate will be distributed in line with their exact wishes. Therefore, having a valid Will is one of the most important things that a person can do for themselves and their family.
If you would like more information about estate planning and what estate planning documents are, including Wills, Powers of Attorney, Advance Health Directives and more, please go to our Wills & Estate Planning section or contact one of our team today.