The Consequences of Not
Having a Will

A will is a legal document that outlines your wishes for your assets after you pass away. It is a crucial part of your estate plan, although not the only component. Your will can address various aspects, including how you want your assets to be divided, who will care for your children if they are underage, the establishment of trusts, the amount of money you wish to donate to charities, and your funeral arrangements.

What if you don't have a will?

It's a topic many of us avoid thinking about, but it's essential to understand the consequences. Without a will, there is no clear guidance for your loved ones on how to distribute your assets. It can lead to confusion and disagreements among family members. A will acts as a roadmap, providing instructions on how you want your belongings to be divided after your passing.

The Law

Nearly half of Australians pass away without a will, which is called dying intestate. When this happens, the rules for dividing the assets vary depending on the state or territory. Usually, the estate is divided among the surviving spouse or partner and children. If there are no immediate family members, other relatives like parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or cousins may receive a share. In some cases, individuals and organisations can make moral claims to the estate under certain state laws. If there are no family members or other eligible individuals to inherit the estate, it is possible that the estate will be taken over by the government under Succession Law.

No Control Over Asset Distribution

Without a will, your desired allocation of assets may not be honoured. When you pass away without a will, someone must apply to administer your estate. Unlike in a will where you specify the executor, in the administration process, anyone with a stake in the will, such as a creditor or beneficiary, can apply for administration. This lack of a will reduces your ability to determine who receives what from your assets, leaving the distribution in the hands of others.

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