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Estate Administration Intestate Distribution Dying without valid will brisbane queensland sydney melbourne australia

What happens to my estate if I die without a will?

When you pass away without a will (valid will), you are deemed to have died intestate. This means that your estate will be administered and distributed according to legislation.

The benefit of having a will is that you can appoint an executor to administer your estate and dictate how you wish for your estate to be distributed.

If I die without a will, who administers my estate?

When a person dies intestate, and there are assets requiring the estate to have an administrator, an eligible person must apply to the Court for Letters of Administration. The person the Court grants Letters of Administration to, becomes the legal representative of the estate.

In descending priority the following people are eligible to apply to the Court to be the administrator of an estate of a person who died without a will:

  1. The deceased’s spouse;
  2. The deceased’s children;
  3. The deceased’s grandchildren or great-grandchildren;
  4. Deceased’s parent or parents;
  5. Deceased’s brothers and sisters;
  6. The children of deceased brothers and sisters of the deceased;
  7. The deceased’s grandparent or grandparents;
  8. The deceased’s uncles and aunts;
  9. The deceased’s first cousins; then
  10. Anyone else the court may appoint.

When applying for Letters of Administration, each of the persons who have priority must be “cleared off the record”. Therefore, if you are a child of the deceased and you are applying for Letters of Administration, the Court must be satisfied that the deceased did not have a spouse at the time of their death.

If I die without a will, who does my estate go to?

How an intestate estate is distributed depends on the circumstances of the deceased.

The Succession Act 1981 (Qld) dictates that the estate will be distributed to the closest next of kin to the deceased, first being the spouse and children of the deceased.

    1. If the deceased was married, with no children, then the whole estate will go to the spouse.
    2. If the deceased was married, with children, then:
  • if the estate is less than $150,000 (excluding household goods), then then whole estate will go to the spouse;
  • if the estate is more than $150,000 (excluding household goods), then the spouse will receive all the household goods as well as an amount of $150,000, and:
    • if there is one child, ½ of the rest of the estate; and
    • if there are two or more children, 1/3 of the rest of the estate.
  1. If the deceased did not have a spouse and only had children, those children will receive the balance of the estate equally.

If the deceased did not have a spouse or children, then the estate will be distributed to the following people (in the following order):

      1. parents;
      2. siblings;
      3. nephews and nieces;
      4. grandparents;
      5. uncles and aunts;
      6. first cousins; then
      7. the Crown.

If you are dealing with an intestate estate and have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

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The information provided in this article is for general information and educative purposes in summary form on legal topics which is current at the time it is published. The content does not constitute legal advice or recommendations and should not be relied upon as such. Whilst every care has been taken in the preparation of this article, Wills, Estates and Probate Lawyers (WEP Lawyers) cannot accept responsibility for any errors, including those caused by negligence, in the material. We make no representations, statements or warranties about the accuracy or completeness of the information and you should not rely on it. You are advised to make your own independent inquiries regarding the accuracy of any information provided on this website. WEP Lawyers does not guarantee, and accepts no legal responsibility whatsoever arising from or in connection to the accuracy, reliability, currency, correctness or completeness of any material contained in this article. Links to third party websites or articles does not constitute any endorsement or approval of those sites or the owners of those sites. Nothing in this article should be construed as granting any licence or right for you to use that content. You should consult the third party’s terms and conditions of use in relation to any third-party content. WEP Lawyers disclaims all responsibility and all liability (including liability for negligence) for all expenses, losses, damages and costs you might incur as a result of the information being inaccurate or incomplete in any way. Appropriate legal advice should always be obtained in actual situations.

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Written by—

Chloe Kopilovic

Call 07 3035 4077 to speak with our team now