How is an Intestate estate distributed?

If you die intestate your assets will be distributed according to a legislated formula in the jurisdiction where you live, regardless of your wishes.

Under the laws of intestacy applying in NSW a beneficiary of those people who die without a valid Will must survive the intestate by 30 days to receive a benefit from the intestate estate.

The laws define a Spouse as a married person, or a domestic partner – which is someone of the same or opposite sex who has been in a de facto partnership of at least 2 years or a relationship that has resulted in the birth of a child. Multiple spouses are defined as any combination of a married person and/or domestic partner.

Issue are defined a person’s children, (and if the children are deceased) grandchildren and (if the grandchildren predecease the intestate) great-grandchildren.

Spouse and Issue

Therefore if you die intestate leaving a spouse and no children, or a spouse and children of one or more spouses the spouses inherit the whole of the intestate’s estate. However if there are children of an ex-spouse or ex-domestic partner – the estate is divided according to a formula between the spouse/s and children (this may include children of the intestate and current spouse/s as well as children of the ex-spouse or ex domestic partner)

If multiple spouses survive the intestate their entitlement to the deceased estate is shared either equally, according to a written agreement between them that has been submitted to the administrator of the estate, or in accordance with an order of the Supreme Court

Where the intestate is predeceased by a spouse and leaves issue, the issue share the estate base on the proximity of their family relationship. Therefore children of the deceased will all share in the estate equally, but if the intestate’s children are already dead, their children share the portion of the estate that their parent would have received. If any of those grandchildren had themselves predeceased leaving issue then their children will share what would have gone to their parent.

Other Relatives

 If the intestate does not have a spouse/s or issue then the Estate is distributed firstly to parents, then siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, then first cousins, if these have been exhausted the government has a right to the intestate’s estate however provisions enabling the petition to waive the governments right to the intestate have been expanded to include dependents, any persons who have a just or moral claim on the intestate, and any organisation (such as a charity, where the intestate did volunteer work or made regular donations) or person who believes that the intestate might reasonably have made provision for.

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