Passing away without a valid Will
If your loved one passes away without a Will, the person is deemed to have passed away ‘intestate.’ The estate is then distributed in accordance with the laws of intestacy in force as at the date of your loved one’s death. These rules operate without any regard to what your loved one’s wishes were. The beneficiaries of your loved one’s estate depend on whether your loved one was married, in a defacto relationship or had children at the date of his/her passing.
Proving you are entitled to the Estate
However, because the beneficiaries will need to prove each is in fact the person entitled to the Estate, the beneficiary will need to obtain original vital record certificates (marriage certificate, birth certificate, etc) including any relevant translation, as well as additional affidavits in regards to the deceased’s living arrangements and that the deceased did not have a de facto spouse (if the next-of-kin is not a de facto spouse). The next-of-kin will also have to attest to the fact that s/he has done extensive searches to locate a possible Will. All of these things may prove more costly and time consuming than if a Will had been left by the deceased.
What we can do:
In addition, the next-of-kin is generally required to also be the Supreme Court of Letters of Administration to be appointed as the Administrator of the Estate. This means that s/he is responsible for signing all the relevant paperwork and instructing a solicitor, if necessary. This may prove difficult or burdensome to the next-of-kin, especially if there are multiple persons entitled to inherit under the relevant statute. We therefore recommend that everyone make a Will expressing their wishes for the distribution of their Estate once they pass away, if for no other reason than to ease the burden on their loved ones.
If you believe that you would have been legally eligible and you were not properly provided for in a deceased’s estate then you may be able to make a Family Provision Claim.