If a person dies without leaving a will, they are said to have died intestate.

In these cases, the estate passes to the next of kin in an order that is determined by the Succession Act 2006 (NSW).

This also applies in cases where the deceased leaves a partially completed will (in which case the deceased is said to have died partially intestate) or where a will exists but is rendered invalid for some reason.  The most common form of intestacy occurs when no will is made.

Remember that on many occasions family members do not know whether a will exists, and just assume that the estate is in intestacy.  It is important that the family members make every effort to locate the will before initiating the intestacy procedures.

There are real disadvantages of intestacy, with the most notable being that the deceased has no control over how the assets of the estate are disseminated.  The estate MUST be divided amongst the deceased’s closest kin, regardless of whether or not the deceased would have wanted to name them beneficiaries.

As indicated previously, in cases of intestate, Letters of Administration must be filed as opposed to Letters of Probate.

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