Monday, November 28, 2011

How do the intestacy rules work?

Following last week’s post, I have had a couple of enquiries about how the intestacy rules work.

As most readers will know, the intestacy provisions apply where a person dies without a valid will in relation to all of their assets. In this regard, it can in fact be possible to die ‘partially intestate’. This simply means that there are assets in a person’s estate that are not validly dealt with under the will in place at a person’s death.

Not dissimilar to a number of the other issues dealt with in previous posts, the intestacy rules are (at least currently) inconsistent across each state in Australia.

The intestacy rules in each state are however set out under the relevant Succession Acts and, in very broad terms, provide for the distribution of wealth amongst immediate family members according to predetermined formulas.

In very general terms, only one set of intestacy rules will apply and which rules are relevant will depend on where the deceased person was 'domiciled'.

The question of domicile can in itself a fairly complex issue and if there is a level of interest, I will try to address this in a future post.

Until next week.