What Happens if I Die Without a Will in Queensland?
26 March, 2021Dispute Resolution, Insolvency and LitigationEstate LitigationEstate PlanningWill and Estate PlanningWill DisputeWill DisputesWills & Estates
What is ‘intestacy’?
If you die without having a valid Will in place, you are said to die ‘intestate’. When you die intestate, your assets are distributed according to the rules of intestacy set out by the law.
Queensland intestacy laws are clear in listing who is entitled to your estate; however, the rules don’t consider your personal wishes or circumstances. This means that your hard-earned estate may pass contrary to your wishes.
If I die without a Will, how do my assets pass under the rules of intestacy?
Under Queensland law, if you die intestate, your spouse receives the entirety of your estate (unless you have children). In Queensland, your spouse is someone you are married to, have a registered civil partnership with, or are in a de facto relationship with (including same-sex relationships).
If you are survived by your spouse and one child, your spouse receives the sum of $150,000 from your estate and all of your household belongings. The remainder of your estate will be divided equally between your child and your spouse.
However, if you are survived by your spouse and multiple children, your spouse receives the sum of $150,000 from your estate and all of your household belongings. The remainder of your estate will be divided, with one-third going to your spouse and the remaining two-thirds being distributed equally between your children.
If you have children, but do not have a spouse, your estate is divided equally between your children.
If one or more of your children have passed away before you, then the share that they would have received under the above intestacy distributions will pass equally to their respective children.
If you do not have any children or spouse, your estate will pass equally to your parents. If your parents do not survive you, your siblings will receive your estate equally.
If you do not have any siblings, then your grandparents will receive your estate. Similarly, if you do not have any grandparents, then your aunts and uncles will receive your estate. If any of your aunts or uncles have passed away before you, then the share that they would have received will pass equally to their respective children.
If you do not have any surviving family members, your estate will pass to the government.
How do I make sure that my estate passes the way I want it to?
While Queensland law is clear about how intestate estates are dealt with, it is quite likely that the way the law will distribute your estate isn’t actually the way you would want your estate distributed. Indeed, intestate estates can sometimes be subject to family provision proceedings in court, as a deceased person’s loved ones may feel that they have not been fairly treated under these rules.
Everyone’s circumstances, relationships and wishes are different. Putting in place a valid Will will ensure that your specific wishes are clearly expressed and carried out after your death.
If you would like to put a Will in place to avoid your estate passing according to the rules of intestacy, or if you’re dealing with a loved one’s intestate estate, please contact a member of our experienced Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning team on (07) 5597 3366, email us at email@example.com, or get in touch via our contact form.
The content of this publication is for information only. The content does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. You should obtain advice that is specific to your circumstances before taking any action.