In our day and age we enter a number of relationships. Some partners we marry and some we live with creating multiple relationships and families. Little do we realise that leaving no Will can impact these relationships and families.
How you ask?
Well, before we continue, some legal jargon made simple referred in the relevant law [Succession Act 2006 (NSW)]:
- ‘intestate’ means a person who dies and leaves no will or the will is unable to dispose of their property effectively;
- ‘spouse’ means a person married or in a domestic partnership with the intestate immediately before your death; and
- ‘domestic partnership’ means a registered relationship or interstate registered relationship (within the meaning of the Relationships Register Act 2010 or a de facto relationship that has been in existence for a continuous period of 2 years, or has resulted in the birth of a child.
So, the law in regards to the entitlement of multiple partners (‘spouses’) of intestate estates states:
- Multiple spouses with no child/ren = As long as the spouses satisfy the above meanings then the whole of the estate is shared as agreed between the spouses, or by a court distribution order, or (depending on the satisfaction of certain conditions) in equal shares.
- Multiple spouses and child/ren of one or more spouse = As above with no entitlement to the child/ren.
- Multiple spouses and child/ren (being not a child/ren of surviving spouse) = As long as the spouses satisfy the above meanings, the spouses share the personal effects, the statutory legacy and one half of the remainder of the estate by agreement between the spouses, or by a court distribution order or (depending on the satisfaction of certain conditions) in equal shares.
Jack past away with no Will. He has left behind Jill, his de facto partner of 10 years, and their 5 year old child, Rapunzel. However, Jack was previously married to Gretel whom he did not divorce. Jack and Gretel have two sons, Hansel and Peter.
From the above, this would mean that Jill and Gretel will share the whole estate either by agreement, court distribution order or (depending on the satisfaction of certain conditions) in equal shares.
His children (Rapunzel, Hansel and Peter) have no entitlement.
Therefore, so that you are not tossing in your grave, make sure your loved ones left behind are looked after by making a Will and keeping it up to date every two years.
In addition, given Jack’s example, you should consider finalising previous relationships…. Divorce!
Disclaimer: Please note our blog is for general information only and accuracy of information is not guaranteed. It is not offered as and does not constitute specific legal advice or opinion for you to act or rely on. You should seek legal advice before acting on relying on this information.