Major Changes To NSW Intestacy Laws

These changes will affect distributions of estates where a person dies and either does not leave a Will at all or leaves a Will which does not wholly dispose of his or her property.

The main amendments to the intestacy laws, affect spouses. The new intestacy laws introduce the terminology “domestic partnership” and “multiple spouses”.

A “spouse” includes a married person or domestic partner. A domestic partner may be someone of the same or opposite sex. For the purposes of the distribution of an estate under the new intestacy laws, a person may be in a relationship with the married person and one or more domestic partners all at the same time.

Under the current law the estate is divided between spouse/s and children.

The amendments provide that if the intestate dies leaving a spouse or spouses as well as children of one or more spouses, then the spouse/s inherit the whole of the intestate estate and their children do not receive any benefit. The position becomes more complicated if there are also children from a prior relationship as the proposed changes recognise the fact that such children may not inherit from the surviving spouse of their natural parent.

Another major change is to allow the estate of an indigenous intestate to be distributed in accordance with a Court order that recognises indigenous laws and customs and not have that estate distributed in accordance with NSW intestacy law.

If you would like to discuss your Will, Probate, Estate Planning or Contested Estate with one of our solicitors, please do not hesitate to contact our office on 1800 600 664, or send a message by completing the contact form.

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