Intestacy rules – variations across Australia

Every year many people die intestate, which is when someone dies without a valid Will in place, and this can cause emotional and financial hardship for relatives. Occasionally, the person who died may have thought they had a Will but it is found to be invalid when it’s too late to fix it. More often, people just haven’t got around to preparing a Will or they have misconceptions about who will inherit their assets and how straightforward and quick that process will be.


Intestacy rules vary across the country

The states and territories do not all follow the same intestacy rules. In fact, there are important differences, which if explained to clients could make them realise how what they thought would happen if they died suddenly and what will actually happen could be very different.

Reinforcing the importance of a Will to your clients

A valid Will is the cornerstone of estate planning and a technique you can use with your clients to help them understand its importance is to explain how the intestacy rules work. To help you do this the following section contains top-level summaries of the intestacy rules for New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia.

intestacy rules nsw

intestacy rules qld

intestacy rules sa

intestacy rules vic

intestacy rules wa

Do your clients need help with estate planning?

If yes, then Australian Executor Trustees can help. AET is part of the IOOF Group and offers estate and trustee services. AET can provide valuable assistance with estate planning across all the states and territories in Australia. For more information on how AET can help, please call one of their estate planning lawyers on 1800 882 218 or you can make an online enquiry by visiting