If you die without making a valid Will, this is called dying 'intestate'. State law will then determine how your estate is distributed. Unfortunately, this may not always be as you had intended.
In Tasmania, distribution is made following the Intestacy Act 2010 formula. In order for the estate to be administered somebody needs to apply to the Court for authority, similar to Probate. This authority is called Letters of Administration and the person authorised is called the administrator.
The administrator that the Court selects may not necessarily be the person who you would have selected if a Will had been made. The duties of an administrator are similar to an executor and can include paying debts, collecting assets, finalising tax affairs and distributing the assets in accordance with the Intestacy Rules. The administrator must establish the family tree using certificate evidence which may be an expensive and time-consuming task depending on who are the next of kin or if they live overseas.
How the Public Trustee can help
Looking after intestate matters can be a complicated process. The Public Trustee can also take over the role of administrator when someone dies without a valid Will (intestate). For those estates where family members are widely scattered or are not close, our in-house genealogist is also highly successful in tracing relatives.
We often have individuals and legal practitioners refer intestacies to us due to our vast experience in dealing with these matters. If you are interested in referring an intestacy matter to the Public Trustee, please contact us.
For more information, see FAQ 10 Who inherits my assets if I don't have a valid Will?
How we work together
It is advisable that you have your Will prepared by experts like the Public Trustee, to ensure your wishes are carried out the way you had intended. We would provide you with high-quality, independent and impartial advice.
The first step to creating a Will and estate plan is making an appointment. You can do this by either contacting your nearest Public Trustee branch or filling out the form on About Wills and having one of our friendly representatives contact you.
Once your appointment has been confirmed, it is recommended that you bring the following things with you:
- Current proof of identity such as a driver’s license or passport;
- Reading glasses if you need them;
- A list of your assets and their worth;
- A list of the people you wish to be beneficiaries, including their full names (correctly spelt) and age;
Please remember to check your life insurance policies and retirement savings plans, in order to ensure you have named the people you wish to receive any entitlements once you pass away. If no one is named, the money may form part of your estate and will be distributed according to the Intestacy Act 2010 formula.
When we make your Will, we will encourage you to include the following instructions:
- Who you are, with enough information to clearly identify that document as your Will;
- The name of your executor;
- Clear instructions about how you want your assets to be distributed;
- Details of the persons to whom you wish to leave your assets and what should happen if someone you name dies before you;
- Your wishes regarding your funeral arrangements (i.e. cremation or burial); and
- If applicable, the name of a guardian to care for your young children.