No will? What happens?

If you or someone close to you dies without leaving a will then their wishes cannot be known or followed. In this case the legislation, specifically Chapter 4 of the Succession Act 2006 NSW, sets out how the estate is to be divided.

The legislation creates two classes of beneficiaries for the deceased person:

1. Spouses

– If the deceased has a spouse and no children or children only with that spouse then the spouse will receive the entire estate.
– If the deceased has a spouse and children from another relationship then the spouse will receive the deceased’s personal effects, the first $350,000 (CPI adjusted from 2005) of the estate and one half of the remainder of the estate.


2. Other relatives

– The remaining half of the remainder the estate or the entire estate if there is no spouse is then inherited by other relatives in the following priority
o Children
o Parents
o Siblings
o Grand-parents
o Aunts and Uncles

If the deceased dies with no known relatives closer than second cousins then the estate will pass to the State. If this is the case then a second cousin or close friend or even a charity can apply for provision from the estate if they might reasonably have been expected to be provided by. Each case will then be considered on it’s merits.

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