Roughly half of Australians don’t have a will, maybe because it’s a topic we’d prefer not think about.
But Covid reminds us how fast life can change. With the world in the grip of a pandemic, the number of people writing a will is rising, in some cases as much as 300%.
If you die without a will, which is dying ‘intestate,’ what happens then? In this case, your spouse will inherit a lump sum, and then the balance is divided amongst any children. This is regardless of whether it’s what you wanted.
This is because without a will, the legal rules of intestacy (different in each state in Australia) take over.
Overall, there is an order of inheritance, which without a spouse, goes to the children and grandchildren, then parents, siblings of the deceased, and so on.
When the government, or a solicitor, tries to distribute the assets of someone who dies intestate, they may ask an estate genealogist to help them identify the descendants and extended family.
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