What is intestacy?
The meaning of intestacy is that someone has died without a will. Approximately 48% of Australians dies without an appropriate will which leaves them in a state of intestacy or partial intestacy which occurs when there is a will but it only effectively disposes of some of the assets of the deceased person and the remainder of the estate is left without any clear beneficiary. In cases like this each state of Australia has legislation with certain rules about the distribution of an intestate estate that determine how the estate is to be distributed in the event that someone dies without a will. For example, in New South Wales under the Succession Act 2006 (NSW) there is a list of people related to the deceased who take priority over the assets of the estate in certain situations. The first is the current surviving spouse or defacto then any former spouse or defacto, then people such as children, siblings and grandchildren or parents can feature in the various systems of intestacy around Australia. In many states of Australia, if there is no identifiable next of kin to the deceased then they will most likely have their assets assumed by the state. Any person who knows a deceased person is likely to want to avoid this at any cost because it is not only a reduced benefit to them, but it would seems to be such a waste to just disburse the benefit of this property to the government.
How can I find help about someone who has died intestate?
If someone you know has died intestate, you will need to get legal advice about the appropriate course of action to take. There may be different responses which are appropriate in different situations depending on the state which you are living in and the laws which apply in that state. If you would like more information about intestacy we have lawyers available online who can help you with this issue. If you would like us to email you back, leave your details in the contact form to the right or if you would like an immediate answer, you can post your question in the question box below.