If you die without a Will or without a valid Will then you are said to have died intestate.
In WA dying intestate means that your assets will be allocated in accordance with legislation, namely, the Administration Act 1903. This allocation often comes as a surprise to many people who wrongly assume that their spouse will automatically inherit their estate. The intestacy legislation may not reflect your wishes and can mean that unintended beneficiaries gain control of your assets over preferred beneficiaries.
How your assets are divided when you die intestate:
- If the deceased has a spouse and children then the spouse will receive the first $50,000, the household contents and a one-third share of the remainder. The remaining two thirds will be divided equally among the children.
- If the deceased has a spouse but no children then the spouse will receive $75,000, and half of the remainder. If the parents are alive, they will receive $6,000 plus a half share of the remainder with the remaining half divided between the siblings, and nieces/nephews. If the parents are not alive, the remainder will be shared equally between the siblings and nieces/nephews.
- If the deceased has a spouse but no children, parents, siblings, nieces or nephews then the spouse inherits the entire estate
- If the deceased has no spouse then the estate is shared equally between any children
- If the deceased has no spouse or children then the estate is shared equally between the parents. If there are also siblings and nieces/nephews, the parents will receive $6,000 plus half of the remainder with the siblings and nieces/nephews sharing the remainder equally.
It is particularly interesting to note that grandchildren are not provided for within the laws of intestacy in WA, whereas siblings and even nieces and nephews are. Also worth noting, and something that most people are unaware of is that marriage revokes a Will whereas divorce does not. So, if a person makes a Will and later remarries then their Will becomes invalid and unless they re-do their Will they will subsequently die intestate.
Bentleys adopts the Estate Planning for Life process to assist clients in the creation of a comprehensive and robust estate plan that provides peace of mind and greater certainty that their wishes are followed and their estate assets are distributed to those of their choosing. Please refer to the short video to find out more about the Estate Planning for Life process and the benefits to you and your family of a professionally established estate plan.