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By Melissa Morton, Lawyer

If you want control over where your money and assets go after you die, you need to prepare a will. However, there is a process in the event you die and do not leave a will.

If you die without a will, then your next of kin may need to make an application for a Grant of Letters of Administration to the Supreme Court of Victoria. It will depend on several factors, including the value of the estate, whether a Grant is required.

Who receives my assets if I die without a will?

Your partner will receive your entire estate if you die without a Will, except if you have children from another person.

Your partner is the person to whom you are married, or with whom you have a de facto relationship, or with whom you have a formally registered relationship. If you have multiple partners when you die, different rules apply.

If you have other children not from your partner, then your partner will receive an amount known as the statutory legacy (approximately $450,000 at March 2021) plus one half of the balance of the estate.

The other half of the balance of the estate will go to your children not from your partner in equal shares.

If you do not have a partner, your entire estate will be left to your children in equal shares. If any of your children predecease you, their share will go to their children (your grandchildren).

If you do not have a partner or children, then your estate goes first to:

  • parents
  • then siblings (or their children if they predecease you)
  • then grandparents
  • then uncles and aunts
  • then cousins.

If you have no living relatives, then your assets will go to the State.

To avoid this, you could draft a simple will to leave your assets to a charity of your choice.

Ultimately, the future of your assets should be your choice, so it is best to organise a will. Your super is not part of your estate so will be dealt with separately.

Please contact our Wills & Estate Team should you wish to discuss your Estate Plan.