Death is not a subject that is easy or pleasant to think about, but, along with taxes, it is one of life’s certainties. Which is why it matters to have a valid Will.
Everyone has heard a story from their relatives, friends or co-workers where a family became involved in a bitter dispute over a deceased estate. Why are these disputes so common?
There are many misconceptions about how estates are administered when a person dies without a Will.
It pays to be prepared in your estate planning – by obtaining proper advice and making informed decisions. Things become a lot more complicated if you die intestate (without a Will). In Western Australia, intestate estates are governed by the Administration Act 1903.
What will happen to your estate?
Below are four common examples of the way the Administration Act determines who receives a share of an intestate estate in Western Australia.
Married or in a de facto relationship with children?
Your spouse receives the first $50,000 and one third of the rest of your estate. Then the other two thirds are divided equally between your children.
At first glance, that might sound like a fair outcome, but if your house is in your name and you have children under the age of 18, your spouse may have to apply to the Supreme Court to obtain an order to enable the house to pass to him or her.
Married or in a de facto relationship with no children?
Your spouse receives the first $75,000 and one half of the rest of your estate. Therefore the other half will be divided in set percentages between your surviving parents and siblings. However if your siblings have predeceased you, as a result their children have an interest as well.
Being married does not mean that your spouse automatically receives your estate. If you are in a de facto relationship, you have to prove the relationship existed for at least 2 years.
Single with children?
Your estate will be divided equally between your surviving children, they receive their shares of your estate at the age of 18 years. therefore will be entitled to receive assets from your estate with no restrictions. However a properly drafted Will can ensure that a child’s inheritance is managed on the child’s behalf, so that it can be protected and invested until the child is older.
No children or dependants?
This is Why It Matters To Have A Valid Will
Your estate will be divided between your parents and siblings, or your nieces and nephews if your siblings predeceased you. Who are the beneficiaries that you want to provide. Are there any family members that you want to leave out?
Homemade Wills can cause all sorts of problems. A professionally drawn Will, will make the administration of your estate an easier process for those left behind.