Dying without a Will
Does it really matter whether or not you die without a will. Can your family just sort it out?
Well, not only can dying without a will complicate an already stressful situation for your family and be more time consuming and costly, it also means that you are not in control of who benefits from your estate.
When someone dies without a will, they are said to have died “intestate”. In Queensland, the Succession Act sets out the rights of relatives to share in the estate of someone who dies intestate.
These laws determine the exact order of inheritance and who gets what:
Generally, spouses and children of the deceased share between them in accordance with a formula and take priority over all other relatives.
The person who takes care of an estate where the deceased had no will is called an administrator. An administrator must be appointed by the Supreme Court before he or she has authority to deal with the estate in any way.
A surviving spouse has the primary option to be the administrator, followed by the children, jointly.
The administrator is responsible for paying debts, selling assets to satisfy creditors and then distributing the estate in accordance with the intestacy laws.
Having a will can ensure your estate is distributed in the way you wish and by the person you wish. It reduces the burden on your family and saves your family time and money in finalising your estate.
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