The long awaited amendments to Western Australia’s Administration Act have now come into effect, significantly altering the distribution of a deceased person’s estate in the event of an intestacy (ie, the person dies without a Will). These changes overcome what was a manifestly inadequate provision for a surviving spouse or de facto partner (including a same sex partner).
The provision for a surviving spouse where the deceased dies leaving a spouse and children has increased from $50,000 plus one third of the balance, to $472,000 plus one third of the balance. The remaining two thirds of the estate passes to the deceased’s surviving children (and/or the children of a deceased child).
Where a person dies leaving a spouse but no children, the provision for the surviving spouse increases from $75,000 plus one half of the balance to $705,000 plus one half of the balance. The other half of the estate is shared between the surviving parents, who now receive the first $56,500 (previously $6,000) and one half of the remaining balance. The deceased’s siblings (or children of any deceased siblings) receive the other half of the balance.
In another significant change, the legislation now provides a formula for these statutory legacies to be reviewed on a regular basis, with the first review due on or before 30 June 2023 and then every 2 years.
The amendments are very welcome and will help to ease the burden on families already suffering from the loss of a loved one.
The distribution of an intestate estate can be complicated, especially when the family home is part of the estate. These changes should not been seen as a reason not to have a Will (or an up to date Will), which remains as important as ever.
For information on the amendments to the Administration Act and estate planning generally, please email us or contact a member of our team on 9488 1300.