What happens if you die without a Will?


What happens if I die without a will?

George came into my office the other day and said that a guy at the pub told him he didn’t have to worry about making a Will.  I asked him why. George said the guy told him that if you die without a Will, it would all be taken care of because the law gives him a Will for nothing. George looked me in the eye and asked…

So why would I pay you to do my Will if I can get one for free?

I asked George if he remembered that ad many years ago where Jack Thompson held a glass filled with something liquid in his hand, looked at the camera and said:

“This is the drink I have when I’m not having a drink.” 

George said he did but wondered what that had to do with the price of fish.

I told him that when it comes to people dying without a Will, they die intestate.

What does “die intestate” mean?

The Administration and Probate Act 1958 says:

“Here is the Will you have when you don’t have a Will.” 

I told George that the legislation sets out the distribution of a person’s estate when there is no Will. It uses what we could term a formula to determine who the beneficiaries will be.  Because George had no Will, he also has no choice about how his estate would be distributed. 

Implications of having no Will when you divorce

I asked George if he had finalised his divorce and property settlement with his former partner Sybil.  He said that he hadn’t got around to it yet. I reminded him that if he died without a Will and he had not finalised the property settlement, then Sybil would get a fair share of his estate because of the law of intestacy. Then any surviving children would share the rest.

This form of estate distribution is not what George wanted. The only way to avoid this is to make a valid Will.

What should George’s entire Estate Planning look like?

Looking to do your Will?

It’s common for people to procrastinate when it comes to estate planning - even with one of the most important documents; their Will.

At David Davis, we provide an Estate Planning Digital Platform which allows you to commence your Will and other estate documents online.

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Got a query or want to speak with an estate planning lawyer about your specific needs?

Contact David Davis Lawyers

Phone: 03 9014 1299

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