What Happens If You Die Without Leaving A Will?

When a person dies without leaving a will, they are referred to as intestate. This term “intestate” originated from a Latin word “intestatus” which means a person who has died without a Will.

There are other factors that could result to Intestacy, it doesn’t occur only when a person fails to completely make a will, it could be as a result of:

  1. The person failing to make a will because he/she didn’t have right mental capacity to do so
  2. The person fails to correctly dispose or mention their assets
  3. The Will being invalid since it was not signed and witnessed as the law requires
  4. The Will being poorly drafted and failing to follow the legal rules of construction

Situations arise when a person dies partly intestate and partly testate. This happens when some part of the Will is valid and the other is invalid. More inconvenience arises when such a scenario occurs, which results in  other expenses and delays than handling a full intestate estate.

How is an intestate estate handled?

Handling intestate matters can be a time consuming and complicated process. To handle the process a suitable administrator must be selected by the Supreme Court of NSW. The person who will be chosen will not be the same one of whom you would have chosen in case the Will was made. The duties of the administrator’s would be to involve themselves in the funeral arrangements, collection of assets and handling distribution once the debts and taxes are paid off. Another duty set for the administrator is to identify the family tree with the help of valid certificate evidence, and the process is time consuming and costly in respect to who the next of kin is, and if they stay overseas.

In some cases  the Court may demand the administrator to acquire an administration bond. The bond is a guarantee that is issued by a third party, usually an insurance company, in case the selected administrator fails to administer the property accordingly.

If a person dies intestate and doesn’t have any remaining relatives who are closer than cousins alive, the government will claim their property.

To ensure you have control of how your estate is divided you need to speak to Greg Eliades who can assist you with this.


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The information above is of a general nature.  It doesn't take into account your individual situation.  To ensure you receive the CORRECT up to date information for your personal situation Contact one our Solicitors


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Matraville NSW 2036

PO Box 70
Matraville NSW 2036




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