JBBIf you die, without a Will, or without an effective Will, your Estate is dealt with as set out in Chapter 4 of the Succession Act 2006.

If, when you die, you have a spouse (somebody to whom you are married or with whom you were carrying on a domestic partnership), the practical effect of the legislation is that your spouse will be entitled to the whole of your Estate.

If you and your spouse have children, your spouse will continue to be entitled to the whole of your Estate.

However, if you have children, who aren’t the children of your spouse, then your spouse is entitled to your personal effects, a statutory legacy and one half of the remainder of your Estate.

There is provision for your spouse to have a preferential right to acquire certain property from the Estate.

The legislation provides for the situation where there is more than one spouse.  Your first reaction will be “How could that be?  Isn’t it a crime to be married to more than one person at a time?”  However, a person could be legally married and then also be living in a domestic relationship with another and thus have two spouses at the time of his or her death.

So the legislation makes provision for the distribution of the Estate amongst the spouses.

The legislation also makes provision for a distribution of the Estate where the deceased’s children are the children of either or both of the spouses.

But what happens if the deceased had children, but they are not children of either of the surviving spouses?  The legislation makes provision for the Estate to be distributed between the spouses and those children.

Doesn’t all this sound complex?  Wouldn’t it be easier to make a Will where you determine who gets the Estate and not the Government.

The Law Society of NSW has arranged for free seminars to be held across the state on Friday 19 August 2011 to better acquaint people with the need of having a Will.  A seminar will occur in Tamworth on that day at the Community Centre commencing at 2.00pm and in Quirindi at the Quirindi Library commencing at 12pm.  If you would like more information about making a Will please come along because Helping You is Our Business.

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