The question of who can benefit under Inheritance Laws, will depend on whether a person has left behind a valid Will or not.
If a person has left behind a valid Will, then the people named as beneficiaries in their Will, generally inherit the assets left to them in the Will. The exception to this is where there is a family provision claim made on the Estate of the deceased.
In New South Wales, a family provision claim can be made by an eligible person who believes that, the deceased did not provide adequate provision, for their proper maintenance, education or advancement in life. People eligible to make a family provision claim are:
– Spouses and de facto partners;
– Ex spouses and de facto partners;
– Children of the deceased;
– A person who was wholly or partly dependent on the deceased at any time and is either a grandchild of the deceased or a member of the deceased’s household; and
– A person with whom the deceased was living in a close personal relationship at the time of their death.
When a family provision claim is successful, then the Court can make an order that, the person who made the family provision claim receive money, or assets, from the Estate or that their original inheritance from the Estate be increased.
In the event that a person dies without a valid Will, then the Rules of Intestacy will be applied, to determine who will receive an inheritance from the Estate.
The Rules of Intestacy set out a strict formula on how the inheritance is to be distributed including:
– If the person left a spouse but no children then, the spouse will inherit the whole of the deceased Estate;
– If the person left a spouse and children with the spouse then the spouse will inherit the whole of the deceased Estate;
– If the person left a spouse and children with another person then the spouse will inherit the deceased’s personal effects, a statutory legacy and one half of the remainder of the deceased Estate;
– If the person left more than one spouse but no children then the spouses share the deceased Estate equally;
– If the person has no spouse but does have children then the children are entitled to the whole of the deceased Estate in equal shares;
– If the person has no spouse and no children then the person’s parents are entitled to the whole of the deceased Estate in equal shares;
– If the person has no spouse, no children and their parents are also deceased then their brothers and/or sisters are entitled to the whole of the Estate in equal shares;
– If the person has no spouse, no children, no parents and no brothers or sisters then their grandparents are entitled to the whole of the Estate in equal shares. If no grandparents then it goes to any surviving aunts and uncles.
For more information and to discuss your claim, including family provision claims and the Rules of Intestacy, speak to an expert lawyer who understands the rules of inheritance.
Graeme Heckenberg has been practicing in Wills and Estates for over 25 years and is an expert in his field. Get an appointment close to home, request a consultation in our Avalon office today. Coveniently situated for those clients living on the Northern Beaches or surrounding peninsula.
Call today on 9221 0341 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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