If a person dies without a valid Will this is described as dying intestate. Part 3 of the Succession Act 1981 in Queensland contains provisions for estate administration when someone dies intestate. Schedule 2 contains the details of what happens in different circumstances depending on whether there is a surviving spouse, child or other family. In the Act, children are referred to as issue.
If a person you are related to has died without a Will it is best to consult with a lawyer for advice about how the estate is to be distributed. Those who have relevant relationships in determining how an estate will be divided are any surviving spouse, children (issue), along with brothers and sisters, grandparents of the deceased as well as brothers and sisters of a parent of the deceased, and any children of any brothers and sisters of a parent of the deceased.
This distribution may not reflect your wishes or your family’s needs, but there may not be anything they can do. Some people you consider family may also be excluded from the rules of distribution:
Step-parents, mother/father in laws, and relatives more remote than first cousins are all excluded from the provisions.
If you have no living relatives and die without a valid Will your estate is paid to the State government. A Will would allow you to avoid this and perhaps donate your estate to a charity or a cause which you support.
How does my estate get administered without a Will?
If you die intestate an administrator will likely need to be appointed by the court and they pay your bills and taxes from your assets, then distribute whatever is remaining in accordance with the Intestacy rules. You administrator may need to apply to the Supreme Court for Letters of Administration. You can find out more about this process here. [link – letters of admin]
What are the consequences of not having a Will?
If you die without a Will:
- Your estate may be distributed in a manner which you didn’t contemplate or didn’t wish for;
- Additional stress caused to your family, who will have to sort out your estate and may encounter conflict between the beneficiaries;
- possible additional costs for your family in making an application for Letters of Administration.
To find out more about preparing a Will or seeking assistance to administer an estate for someone who has died without a Will and to see how we can assist you, contact our office on (07) 3343 9522 or (07) 5446 1745 or through our contact us service here.