Dying without a Will is legally known as ‘dying intestate’.

If you die without a Will (known formally as “dying intestate”), the court (in each State or Territory), decides how your ‘estate’ assets are to be distributed, and this is usually done according to a strict legal formula.

The court usually appoints the Public Trustee as the ‘Executor’, who will then distribute your ‘estate’ assets according to this formula, even though this may not be how you would have chosen to divide your ‘estate’ assets. For example, you may wish to give gifts to particular friends, children, grandchildren or relatives.

These wishes are not carried out by the Public Trustee if you do not have a Will which specifically states your requirements.

In addition, if you die intestate, there are additional fees and taxes charged to your ‘estate’, which would not necessarily be charged if you die with a Will in place. This means your heirs will end up receiving less, and more of your hard earned money goes unnecessarily to fees and taxes which may otherwise be avoided.

A Will is also important as it allows you to appoint a person as an ‘Executor’ who you know and trust. This will ensure that the distribution of your ‘estate’ assets and arrangement of your affairs will be processed according to your wishes.

Your Will needs to be appropriately signed and witnessed, as well as being ‘legally constructed’.  If your Will is challenged and/or the court decides that it is NOT a ‘legal’ Will, then you will also be deemed as having ‘died intestate’, that is, without a Will.

If you require a Solicitor who services your local area, please see our Business Search facility under ‘Solicitors (Wills & Estates)’ here.