A Will is a legal document that expresses your wishes as to what is to happen to your personal assets which may include property, bank accounts, personal investments, motor vehicles and personal items.
The Will sets out who is to administer your estate, known as an executor and how the executor is to arrange such administration. Your executor has a duty to ensure your estate is administered in the most effective way following your wishes.
Your Will directs the executor to distribute your personal assets to named beneficiaries being either a spouse, child or extended family, relatives or friends. A Will can also leave gifts to charities.
Your executor can make such distribution to your potential beneficiaries after 6 months from the Grant of Probate, which is a formal process to prove your Will. The Grant of Probate is issued by the Supreme Court of Victoria.
If you fail to leave a Will, a person needs to make an application to the Supreme Court to be appointed the administrator of your estate. This is known as dying intestate. Such person generally needs to be related to you i.e. next of kin, child or extended family.
Upon appointment of an administrator, your estate must be distributed as follows:
|If an intestate dies leaving only||Property would be divided …|
|Spouse or domestic partner|
|1 and no children||all goes to the spouse or domestic partner|
|2 and no children but other relations||all goes to the spouse or domestic partner|
|3 and children||all goes to the spouse or domestic partner|
|If no partner and no children||Equally between father and mother|
|If no partner and no children and no parents||Equally between brother/s and sister/s|