You are here: >> Home >> Articles-BHS Legal >> A family tree can be useful, with or without a will

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

Why do a family tree?

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.  You may think this unnecessary. However a family tree can be helpful in preparing to make a will.  This is so where the potential estate is large, there are blended families and business succession issues to consider.  It can add clarity in working through the options.  

Indeed some lawyers ask people to prepare a family tree  ahead of discussions about a will, and estate planning generally.

Migrants with no next of kin locally

Having a family tree can be useful where someone has migrated to Australia and have no  family or next of kin here.  It makes administration easier if there is some record of overseas relatives and their contact details.

A family tree can be a useful reference point in some intestacy situations and the rules of intestacy have to be applied.

In this context the family tree need only record the most relevant information.  The extent of relationships depends on personal circumstances.  Where applicable record family/next of kin, for:

  • your spouse or partner (and former ones);
  • children, grandchildren and spouses or partners; step-children,
  • parents;
  • siblings and their spouses or partners;

Note that ‘children’ includes adopted children under the law.  Aunts, uncles and cousins could be added.  In some jurisdictions the intestacy rules extend to cousins.

To get started a simple form can be downloaded here.  This format is really all that is needed in this context, but others can be found on the internet. 

For anyone keen to explore their family history and genealogy, the National Library in Canberra has compiled a list of links to valuable sources here.

family tree, wills, inheritance, intestate, intestacy,B Stead
BHS Legal

Updated 30 June 2021

Important notice: This article is intended for general interest and information only. It contains general information and is not specific to anyone’s personal circumstances. It is not legal advice nor should it be used as such. Always consult a legal practitioner for specialist legal advice specific to your needs and circumstances and rely upon that. While every effort is made to ensure accuracy at the time of writing applicable laws may change.

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

Copyright © 2023 BHS Legal, publisher of Content is protected by copyright. Please refer to the Terms of Use.
Scroll to Top