When no will is left

When no will is left by a deceased person they are said to have died intestateDying intestate means that their property and things are distributed according to the legal rules on intestacy made by the Parliament in the state or territory where they lived.  Sometimes a person may have left a will, but for some reason a problem arises so that not all of the property can be disposed of.


Personal items in a deceased estate

personal items, personal effects, belongings, deceased estate, will, willmaking, testator, personal thingsPersonal items can have important sentimental value.  They may be family heirlooms passed down to keep within the family, with unique stories to tell.  Personal items may have little commercial value, or maybe of significant monetary worth in the case of jewellery, antiques, artworks and the like.

What might “personal items” mean in succession law?  What happens if you don’t leave any instructions as to who takes your personal things and you die intestate? Who is entitled under the law to take your personal items then?  More

Family provision – who is eligible to claim from a deceased estate?

By: B Stead

Left out of a will or seeking more –  who can apply for provision?

family provision, eligibile person, will, deceased estate, challenge a will, contest a will, Family provision laws were introduced to remedy situations where willmakers failed to leave adequate provision for the proper maintenance, support and advancement in life for close family, usually spouses, partners and children.

The legislation gives the court1 discretionary power to order provision from a deceased person’s estate, where found to be inadequate, to “eligible” applicants, under certain circumstances. It is not automatic.


Intestacy rules – who is entitled to inherit?


Dying without a will (intestate) – who inherits?

Intestacy is when you die without leaving a will.  You are said to have died “intestate”.  In the absence of  instructions left in a valid will, who will inherit your property?  Succession law contains strict rules to deal with this problem.

This is an outline of the application of the intestacy rules. They specify the order of entitlement as to who inherits and in what proportion, as well as the provision of a sum of money (statutory legacy) for the spouse or partner.   More

A family tree can be useful, with or without a will

Why do a family tree?

family tree, wills, inheritance, intestate, intestacy,

A family tree is a record of information about family relationships. It is useful to have a basic outline of close family/next of kin relationships to keep with your personal papers.  This maybe unnecessary you might think.

However a family tree can be helpful in preparing to make a will, especially where large, complex estates, blended families and business succession issues are involved.  More

Dying intestate – when there is no will left or an invalid one


By B Stead

If a deceased person has not left a will, or if no document appearing to be a will can be found, they are said to have died intestate.  Here is an outline on how succession law rules operate to distribute an intestate person’s property; who is entitled to inherit.

The meaning of ‘intestate’

‘Intestate’ is a defined term in all state and territory legislation dealing with intestacy.  It is defined with similar wording throughout, such as that in section 102 of the Succession Act 2006 (NSW):

An intestate is someone who has died and either not left a will or left one which does not dispose effectively by the will all or part of their property. More

Co-ownership & tenancy: jointly owned or in common?

By: B Stead

Co-ownership, joint tenancy, tenants in commonMany people own property with another person in a co-ownership arrangement.  Spouses or partners typically own their residence together in joint names, family members; or  friends may own a property together for investment.

An important issue to consider upfront when buying property are the consequences of when a co-owner dies. How the property is owned between people, that is, its tenancy, can give very different outcomes on death.  Ideally these should be considered at the time of purchase.

Questions to ask include who can take a co-owner’s interest when they die?  Would this be what they want to have happen?  If not, can they state their intention in their will? Or is the property owned in a way that on death the interest automatically passes to the survivor/s outside of a will, as in joint tenancy?  This article looks at tenancy issues.  More