News & Updates from Swift Legal

What if I don’t have a Will?

by Judica Swift on April 3, 2014 Comments Off on What if I don’t have a Will?

All of these things play a big part on how simple or complex your estate may become.  For an explanation on what an “estate” is, see our post here.

One very important thing to remember about your Will and the administration of your estate is that it’s not just all about who gets what.  It’s also about:

  • Who’s responsible for managing your affairs?
  • Who’s going to be guardian for your children for the rest of their childhood and adolescence?
  • Who’s going to organise your funeral? Will that mystery person know what you want?
  • Are there specific things you want to make sure go to a specific person? Your wedding rings? Grandma’s old clock? etc.
  • What about jointly held property? See our post on joint property here.
  • What about your Superannuation?

Some examples on how things are divided when you go:

  1. You have a spouse, but no children = your estate would ultimately go to your spouse.
  2. You have a spouse and children = your spouse and child would share your estate in unequal shares. See below.
  3. You have no spouse and 1 child = your child would receive your estate.
  4. You have no spouse and children = your children would receive your estate in equal shares.
  5. You have no spouse and no children = your family in this order:
  • Your Parents
  • Your Siblings and/or Nieces & Nephews (if any sibling passed away before you)
  • Your Grandparents
  • Your Uncle & Aunts

These rules are called the “Rules of Intestacy“.

This is not an exhaustive list and does not apply in every circumstance.  It’s critical to make sure you get advice for your situation and circumstance.

One of the things that the lawyers see a lot of is complications because there is no Will.  When you pass away, your family need to deal with the organisations where you held assets i.e. banks, share companies and sometimes superannuation funds.  Some of these organisations require Letters of Administration as a result of you NOT having a Will.  We will post more about what Letters of Administration shortly.   This can be an expensive process and by making a Will, you may avoid this process and expense.

Ultimately, leaving a Will with your directions to your family about your wishes can give certainty to your family and loved ones in their toughest time.

No matter your age or situation, it is essential to have a Will in place.

If you would like to speak with one of our lawyers, please contact us here.

Judica SwiftWhat if I don’t have a Will?