Note: This is a general overview of advance life planning and is not to be considered as legal advice.
What happens if I were to pass away without a valid Will?
If you die without a Will, you are said to have died ‘intestate’ . In this case, your assets are distributed in line with Part 3 of the Succession Act 1981 (the Act). The Act sets out intestacy rules, which means your estate will first go to your next of kin, which is your spouse or de facto partner, and children or grandchildren.
If there is no spouse, children or grandchildren, then there is a formula for who your next beneficiaries are. This formula may lead to parents, brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. This gets more complex if any of the beneficiaries have passed away. The best way to make sure your estate is administered how you want is to have a valid Will.
I don’t have a lot of stuff; do I really need a Will?
The things that make up your estate are not just items that you think might be worth money like a house or a car. Your estate includes belongings such as special keepsakes, photos, or even directions on what you would like to happen to your social media accounts.
Having a valid Will is the best way to make sure your estate goes where you choose, no matter what you have.
Can I leave my estate to my pets?
You cannot leave money or property to your pet as they are not capable of inheriting money or property under Queensland law. You can, however, detail who you want to take care of your pet in your Will, along with a pecuniary legacy (a cash amount) to help care for your pet.
Can I use my Will to record my wishes for organ donation?
Organ donation operates to very tight timeframes – within hours of a person passing. So, your Will is not the right place to tell your loved loves whether you would like to be an organ donor. The Australian Organ Register records your decision to donate.
Why does it take so long for an estate to be administered?
Processes under Queensland Succession Law have mandatory timeframes before an estate can be administered. This is to allow for any eligible people to make a claim to the estate.
I did my Will with the Public Trustee – do I have to appoint the Public Trustee as the executor?
An executor is who you nominate in your Will to finalise (administer) your estate when you die. An executor is responsible for completing a variety of tasks when managing your estate.
You nominate your executor in your Will. You can choose one or more people, a solicitor, or the Public Trustee as executor.
I have a question about Wills. Who can I ask?
Your local solicitor, succession law specialist, or the Public Trustee can answer any questions you may have.
You can find a solicitor near you using the Queensland Law Society’s Find a Solicitor.
To chat with us, phone 1300 360 044.
If you have any questions, we're here for you.