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Do I need a Will?

Ever wonder what happens if your spouse dies without a will?  There is a strict hierarchy as laid out in the Administration Act 1903 (WA) S.14 which sets out who will be entitled to claim on the estate.

“Intestacy” is where a person dies:

  • without leaving a will, or
  • leaving a will which, for some reason, is deemed invalid or does not deal with all their property (estate)

You may think as you are married or in a de-facto relationship you will automatically be the sole beneficiary of your partners entire Estate.  This is may not be the case.

Take a look at this case study:

  • Steve is 52 years old;
  • Steve passed away suddenly and unexpectedly;
  • Steve was in a de-facto relationship for 4 years with Sally who is 42 years old ;
  • Steve has 3 children from a former relationship but no children with Sally;
  • Steve and Sally lived in a house bought by Steve early on in their relationship
  • The house is in Steve’s name although both Steve and Sally contributed to the mortgage equally
  • Steve’s Assets: $856,000 –
    Calculated including
    –   The house is valued at $450,000 with a mortgage of $280,000
    –   Steve has $150,000 in superannuation which included a death benefit of $450,000
    –   Steve has a 2011 Toyota Land Cruiser valued at $71,000
    –   Steve has assorted tools and equipment valued at $15,000

Based on Administration Act 1903 (WA) S.14,

  • Sally would have a claim on Steve’s Estate of the sum of $291,800
  • The remainder will go to his children, the sum of  $564,200 .  

This may cause the forced sale of some or most of Steve’s assets.

Superannuation, other life insurances and death benefits may well fall under the discretion of the Trustee of those individual funds however in this case Steve had nominated his estate as the beneficiary.

Clearly to look after Sally, Steve needed a will.