Intestacy occurs when the whole or part of a deceased’s estate is not disposed of by a will. Property in an intestate estate is usually distributed according to statute. Until recently ss 14,15 of the Administration Act 1903 (WA) provided that the deceased’s surviving spouse was entitled to a fixed net sum from the estate on intestacy.
In Western Australia, a spouse’s legacy could be as low as $50 000 when the intestate dies leaving issue (lineal descendants, including children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and so on) and as high as $75 000 when the intestate dies leaving no issue. The Administration Amendment Bill 2021(WA) proposes to increase these amounts to $472 000 and $705 000.
The proposed increase aims to remove financial hardship for the surviving spouse and ensure that they can live in the manner to which they have become accustomed.
Parental Statutory Legacy
Additionally, the parental statutory legacy that applies where the deceased has living parents, siblings, or siblings’ issue but no surviving spouse increases from $6000 to $56 500. Last reviewed over forty years ago the Western Australian Parliament considered it appropriate that the deceased parents participate in the distribution of their child’s intestate estate.
The Attorney General believed that the bill was required to address the amounts of the statutory legacies payable on intestacy – last adjusted in 1982 and now grossly inadequate – and to provide a formula to calculate future increases when required.