Deceased Estates & Contesting Wills

What happens if I don't make a Will?

A person who dies without having made a valid Will is said to have died intestate.

The Succession Act has brought about a significant change to previous intestacy law. The significant change is that when a person dies intestate, the preferred person entitled to receive his or her estate is the intestate's spouse. If there are no persons entitled, the estate passes to the State as bona vacantia (that is, property which does not have an owner).

The Succession Act has expanded the definition of “spouse” to include a person who was in a domestic partnership immediately before the intestate's death.

The order in which person's entitled share in the deceased's estate depends upon them surviving the deceased by 30 days. It should however be noted the  expression “domestic partnership” includes a “de facto relationship”. Under the Succession Act, this means that persons who were in a "domestic relationship" for a continuous period of not less than 2 years immediately prior to death, or resulted in the birth of a child, are defined in the Succession Act as a spouse.

Higgins Lawyers are experienced practitioners of deceased estates and contesting wills.  However, to avoid any confusion, instruct Higgins Lawyers to prepare a valid will. Home made wills are found by the court to be invalid.

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