What happens if there is no Will? Intestate explained

03 February 2016

Some studies have shown that that nearly one in two Australians don’t have a valid Will. An out-of-date or non-existent Will can result in unnecessary financial hardship and emotional stress for surviving spouses, family and friends.

It’s essential to have a high quality, up-to-date and legally binding Will to avoid bitter arguments, disputes, confusion and heartache at a time when loved ones are trying to cope with the loss of someone close to them.

What happens though if there is no Will?

What if I don’t make a Will?


If you die without leaving a Will you are said to die intestate, so there is no formal evidence of who you wanted as your beneficiaries and who you wanted as your Executor.

In this case your estate is distributed according to a pre-determined formula with certain family members receiving a defined percentage of your assets despite what you may have wished.

Although your family will receive some of your estate, the situation is more complicated and problematic than people realise. Your assets may end up in the ‘wrong hands’ or being allocated in a way you never expected or wanted.

What may happen?

  • If you are married you may think your husband or wife will automatically get everything. In fact, this is only the case if your estate is under a certain value. Your children may have a right to part of your estate or, if you have no children then your parents, brothers and sisters who survive you may take a share.
  • If you are living as a couple, but are not married, you may be treated as a single person and a surviving partner may get nothing.
  • If you are a single person, you may want your estate divided in the proportions you wish among friends, relatives and charities of your choice. Even if you have no immediate family, it is still important to make a Will.

Without a Will, in certain circumstances your estate may simply pass to the Government and you will have had no say in where your money or possessions will go. For example, if you die intestate and have no surviving relatives closer th

What can I do?

If you don’t already have a Will the best time to do it is NOW. Having a Will prepared is very simple and will secure your wishes for the future.

It also makes sense to review your Will every few years, as your circumstances may have changed and an updated Will makes sure your wishes are absolutely clear.

Can I do it myself?


Not every Will is equal. It is a good idea to enlist the help of a professionally qualified expert. It’s very easy to make a mistake with a homemade Will, as there are certain strict legal formalities that must be complied with. A Will is an important document and it is worth taking a little trouble to get it right.

What do I do if a loved one has died without a Will?


You should seek advice from a professionally qualified expert to help guide you through the Intestate process.

What next?

Every situation is unique and we have the expertise to help navigate any complexities that exist or could arise.

Contact Gill & Lane Solicitors at Sandgate via, or 3269 8111 for a free, no obligation consultation.