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 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 genealogy services are 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 section Who inherits my assets if I don’t have a valid Will?