The whole area of succession law in Australia is still dealt with by State Legislation and there are therefore variations in the arrangements and laws between the different states. Victoria has recently passed changes to the legislation in that state that govern what happens when somebody passes away without having left a valid Will. It reminds us of The Critical Importance Of Having A Will.
Victorian Wills Legislation
The new Victorian arrangements provide that when someone dies and leaves a partner but no children then the partner takes the whole of the deceased estate. If the deceased leaves a partner and children, who are the children of the surviving partner, then the partner takes the whole of the deceased estate. If the deceased leaves a partner and child/children who is not a child of the partner then the partner takes the personal chattels plus the first $451,909.00 of the estates plus interest and one half of the balance and the children of the person who has died share equally among the other half of the balance of the estate equally.
The Victorian Legislation also provides that the figure of $451,909.00 is the ‘index link’ according to the Melbourne Consumer price index. These Victorian arrangements are somewhat different to the arrangements that apply in Queensland. In Queensland, if there is one surviving spouse and no children, then like Victoria the spouse takes the whole of the estate. If there is a spouse and one child, the spouse takes half of the estate. If there is more than one child then the spouse takes 1/3 (or 33%) of the estate. In each case, the children share equally in the balance that remains.
To ensure that you avoid the uncertainty of your estate being dealt with according to the Laws passed in each state, which can be changed from time to time and which vary around the country, it is vital that you make an keep up to date a properly executed Will.
We also suggested at the same time it is an ideal opportunity to address the making of an Enduring Power of Attorney.
Here is a short video about financial settlements