If you are an adult in New South Wales and you do not have a legal will ready, there may be adverse consequences that could happen when you die unexpectedly. According to a survey, 50% of NSW residents do not have a will prepared. More than 30% of those revealed that the reason they don’t have one is that they just haven’t found the time to do it yet. So what happens if you die without a will? Here are some scenarios that outline what happens to your assets and money should you die without a legal will in NSW.
What happens when you die without a will in NSW?
If you die without a will in Australia, your death will automatically be classified as intestate. This means that your assets will be distributed by the state government however best they see fit. So if you would like to ensure that your assets will be handed out in a particular manner, the best way to do it is by having a will.
Who can inherit a deceased’s estate without a will?
There is a hierarchy of next-of-kin involved when it comes to standing to inherit a deceased’s assets in the event of intestacy. It begins with the spouse, then the children and grandchildren, parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and when the person has no living relatives, the state.
When a person dies with a spouse but no children, everything may be given to the spouse. If the deceased leaves both a spouse and children behind, the children behind, and the children are that of the spouse’s, it’s still the spouse who may get the whole estate. If the children are not the children of the spouse, the spouse may only be entitled to the personal effects of the deceased, as well as a statutory amount, adjusted for CPI plus interest, and one half of any remainder. However, it should be noted that if the deceased owned property with someone else, then that person may inherit the entire property.
How does the distribution of assets happen without a will?
There needs to be an appointed estate administrator before an intestate person’s assets will be distributed. They will take on the responsibility of distributing the estate in line with the current intestacy rules.
More often than not, the administrator is a lawyer, financial planner, or someone else trusted by the deceased. They need to apply for a grant of administration from the court as it will allow them to reconcile matters related to the estate, including unpaid debt, taxes, funeral expenses, and more.
But there are simpler cases where the deceased only left few assets and has a single spouse to inherit everything. In this case, there is no need for a grant of administration. The same rule applies if those likely to inherit the estate can agree on how best to distribute the assets.
Most people would like to know that whatever they leave behind after their death will be distributed to loved ones in accordance with their wishes rather than the provisions of a government act. However, this is not possible if you don’t have a will.
Should you feel that you’re ready to draft a will and need a professional to guide you, contact our lawyers in Balmain at Wilding and Co Lawyers to draft your will today.