When a person dies without a will in place, the deceased is said to have died ‘intestate’.

This means that the deceased’s estate will be dealt with and administered in accordance with the relevant intestacy rules.

However, these rules can also apply to several other circumstances such as:

  • If a will fails to appropriately manage the individual’s entire estate and assets.
  • If a will is determined to be invalid based on errors in signing and witnessing.
  • If the individual is determined to not have the mental capacity to make a valid will.

Dying intestate means an individual’s estate and assets are divided and allocated based on the relevant state laws.

Typically, any living spouse and children (if no spouse or if those children are from a prior relationship to the current spouse) are immediate beneficiaries, however without a spouse or children, your estate may be allocated to parents, siblings, grandparents, nieces, and nephews before branching out to more distant relatives (where appropriate).

The central issue with intestacy is that the deceased individual relinquishes any control of who receives what from their estate. Intestacy laws apply only to legal family relations, meaning they fail to consider other relationships or passions, such as lifelong friends or charitable organisations.

Another important consideration is taxes and fees associated with intestacy. Administrating an estate without a will means that there is more involvement from third parties, who will require payment for their services.

If you would like to discuss your estate planning and will arrangements, please contact us on (02) 4944 2008 or send us an enquiry through our website. Our first consultation is free.

Please note – the information in this article relates to the law in New South Wales and is general information only. It should not be construed as legal advice.