Changes to Intestacy laws (Victoria, Australia)
In Victoria, if a person dies without a Will, they are said to have died intestate and their estate will be distributed in the manner set out in the Administration and Probate Act 1958 (Vic).
In late 2017, significant changes were introduced to the intestacy provisions of the Act, with the aim of making intestacy laws fairer and more consistent with the practices of other States and Territories.
This article will provide a summary of how intestacy law has changed, and how an intestate estate is distributed under the new regime.
The new regime changes how a deceased’s estate is distributed between the deceased’s partner and their children.
The following table sets out how the most common intestacy situations are treated in comparison with the previous regime, prior to 1 November 2017.
If a deceased person dies without any siblings, their estate will pass (in order of priority) to any surviving grandparents, then aunts and uncles, and then first cousins.
Prior to the new changes, the distribution would continue down the line to remoter next of kin. However, as of 1 November 2017, if a person passes away without leaving any first cousins or closer family, then their estate will pass to the Crown.
What if the deceased left multiple partners?
Separate rules apply where the deceased left multiple partners. The deceased person’s estate is to be distributed as follows, where there were multiple partners:
The partners’ shares will be divided in the following manner:
- Where the partners come to an agreement between themselves, the partners’ share is to be distributed in the manner agreed
- Where the partners have not come to an agreement and one of them applies to the Supreme Court of Victoria, then the Court will decide on a fair and equitable distribution of the partners’ share between them
- Otherwise, the estate’s administrator is required to distribute the partners’ share of the deceased’s estate equally between them.
This contrasts with the law prior to 1 November 2017, which divided the deceased’s estate between multiple partners in accordance with a table, depending on how long the most recent partner had lived with the deceased.
How can Sharrock Pitman Legal help?
If one of your loved ones has passed away without a Will, or you require assistance making or updating a Will so that your estate is not distributed according to the new intestacy laws, please contact our accredited specialist Wills and Estates team on 1300 205 506.
The information contained in this article is intended to be of a general nature only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Any legal matters should be discussed specifically with one of our lawyers.
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For further information contact
Mitchell is the Managing Principal of our law practice.
He is an Accredited Specialist in Commercial Law (accredited by the Law Institute of Victoria). He also deals with areas of Employment Law, Wills & Estate Planning and Probate. For further information, contact Mitchell on his direct line (03) 8561 3318.