Scary thought eh? First let me dispel one myth.

If you don’t make a Will, the government does not take your assets and estate for their own benefit. The government does, however, have rules of distribution if you don’t have a Will. These are called Intestacy rules.

Definitions:

  • Intestacy – The condition of having died without a valid will.
  • Intestate – A person who dies without having made a will – He/she died intestate

Dying without a valid will is known as dying ‘intestate’. Intestacy arises where the deceased dies without a valid will or where the deceased leaves a valid will, but the will does not effectively dispose of all of the person’s estate.

Other examples are:

  • After making a valid Will (that has not been made in contemplation of marriage or divorce) a person divorces or marries;
  • If the person making the Will is of unsound mind, or mentally ill/incapable at the time of making his/her Will; or
  • If the Will is damaged to the extent that it cannot be read or interpreted.

Intestacy means that the deceased’s estate will likely be distributed other than as the deceased intended.

Instead, how the estate is distributed will be determined by legislation, in other words, the GOVERNMENT, with the estate generally being distributed among the deceased’s nearest blood relatives.

This can lead to bitter and costly disputes over inheritances that inevitably reduce the size of the estate.

Intestacy also means that without a legal and valid will in place there is no appointed executor. Where a person has died without writing a legal and valid will an administrator must be appointed. Applying to the court for letters of administration is similar to applying for probate of a will, but does often lead to additional costs and complexities.

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