We are often asked the question ‘What happens if I die without a Will?
Contact our Gold Coast Lawyers team for more information on Wills & Estates.
Hi, I’m Richard Dawson, Partner of OMB Solicitors and today I’d like to talk to you about what happens if you die without a will. When a person dies without a will or without a valid will, they are called dying intestate.
Under the intestacy laws, a person has to apply to the Supreme Court in Queensland for what’s known as a grant of letters of administration on intestacy. It is the law which says who will be entitled to apply for that grant of letters of administration.
In most cases, it will be the surviving spouse. However, where the spouse may not be able to act, or he or she may be unwilling to act, then it would fall to the children. If there are no children available to act, then there are usually other next of kin, in an order of priority who apply for court.
One way to avoid having to apply for letters of administration is for a person to do a will prior to their death. This is very important and should be done by all adult people. An application to the Supreme Court can be a very costly exercise.
It’s an application to the Supreme Court, It can take several months to obtain, and during that period, there may be a downtime in which the estate can be administered, or worse still, there could be a contest over who actually has the highest right to apply for letters of administration.
Under the intestacy rules, the estate must be distributed in accordance with those rules and not in accordance with the person’s will, because there is no will. In Queensland, the spouse is entitled to the first $150,000 of the estate and the household chattels and depending if there are any children, that spouse would be entitled to either a half or a third of the residuary estate.
If there are no children, then the spouse is entitled to all of the estate. This can potentially create problems because a deceased person may, in fact, have more than one spouse. You could imagine the fights that would erupt where you have an ex spouse and a current spouse feuding over a deceased person’s estate.
This can be easily avoided by doing a simple and straightforward will through your solicitor. If you would like to prepare a will, please contact our office on 5555 0000, or email the estates team at [email protected].