Intestacy – Dying without a will
What is intestacy?
If you die and you haven't made a will, the legal expression is that you "have died intestate". This expression also applies if you have left a will and that will does not adequately dispose of your assets.
Pursuant to the Probate and Administration Act 1898 and the Succession Act 2006, if you have died intestate, your property will remain with the Administrator, who must apply the legislation to distribute your assets. If you die intestate and there are no eligible recipients of your assets, pursuant to the legislation, the state is entitled to keep everything.
Difficulties if there is no will
The biggest drawback with not making a will is that you have no say as to who inherits your assets. It is also more expensive to administer an estate without a will, and the extra cost will be deducted from your assets. Finally, any applicable death duties such as capital gains tax, stamp duty, income-tax etc will also be payable to the government.
I can't find my will
If you think you have made a will in the past but can't remember where it is, after searching your house you should try making enquiries with your lawyer, accountant, bank, insurance company or with the public trustee or trustee companies.
What happens to my assets if there is no will?
If there is no will, the distribution of your assets depends upon how many dependent people there are who may have a claim to your property, such as spouses, ex-spouses, children, siblings etc.
I have been left out of a will
If you feel you have been left out of a will, you can challenge that will in the Supreme Court.