A common misconception is that if you die intestate (e.g. die without a will) everything you own will automatically go to your partner and/or children.
If you die intestate and hold assets over the value of $15,000.00 the estate will need to apply to the High Court for Letters of Administration to appoint a personal representative, otherwise known as an Administrator, to distribute your estate. The Administrators role is to assist with calling in any assets and ensuring all debts have been cleared. The cost and time involved in this can be significantly higher than if you had died with a Will.
Who inherits what is governed by the Administration Act 1969 which sets out a table of who will inherit what for an estate if Letters of Administration are applied for. Persons who could potentially benefit from the estate can include partners, children, parents, siblings and, aunties and uncles. For example if you die with a partner and no children and your nett estate is $400,000.00, your partner will receive $155,000.00 (being the prescribed amount under the Act) and the remaining residue of $245,000.00 would be split as 2/3 share to your partner and a 1/3 share to your parents.
If you are concerned that your assets may not be left to who you had intended or hoped, contact us for a chat with one of our Will and succession specialists.