How is the estate distributed if there is no Will?

When a person dies leaving a Will determining who the ultimate beneficiaries are and the extent of their entitlements is a pretty straight forward process. This is done by reference to the terms of the will and is known as “testate distribution.” By contrast, were a person dies without a will determining who is entitled is more difficult. “Intestate distribution” is governed by the terms of s14 of the Administration 1903 (WA). S14 contains a table of various kinds of family backgrounds. It specifies, depending on who has survived the Deceased, what share each family member is to receive. An extract of the s14(1) table is mentioned below:

1. dies leaving a husband or wife (whether or not other persons mentioned in item 2 or 3 also survive) the surviving husband or wife shall be entitled, absolutely, to all household chattels included in the intestate property;
2. dies leaving a husband or wife and issue (a)         where the net value of the intestate property (other than the household chattels) does not exceed the sum of $50 000 — the surviving husband or wife shall be entitled to the whole of the intestate property;
 

 

 

(b)         where the net value of the intestate property (other than the household chattels) exceeds the sum of $50 000 — the surviving husband or wife shall (in addition to the household chattels) be entitled to the sum of $50 000, absolutely, together with interest on that sum in accordance with subsection (4) and, of the residue, the surviving husband or wife shall be entitled to one third and the issue shall be entitled in accordance with subsection (2b) to the other two-thirds;
3.         dies leaving a husband or wife and one or more of the following, namely, a parent, a brother or sister, or child of a brother or sister, but leaving no issue (a)         where the net value of the intestate property (other than the household chattels) does not exceed the sum of $75 000 — the surviving husband or wife shall be entitled to the whole of the intestate property;
(b)         where the net value of the intestate property (other than the household chattels) exceeds the sum of $75 000 —the surviving husband or wife shall (in addition to the household chattels) be entitled to the sum of $75 000, absolutely, together with interest on that sum in accordance with subsection (4), and, of the residue, the surviving husband or wife shall be entitled to one-half and, as to the other half —

(i)         where the intestate is survived by one parent or both parents —

(A)         if the value of that other half does not exceed the sum of $6 000 or if no brother, sister, or child of a brother or sister survives the intestate — the parent or parents shall be entitled (in equal shares where both survive the intestate) to that other half;

                        (B)         in any other case — the parent or parents shall be entitled (in equal shares where both survive the intestate) to the sum of $6 000, absolutely, and of the remainder, the parent or parents shall be entitled (in equal shares where both survive the intestate) to one-half and the brothers and sisters of the intestate and the children of deceased brothers and sisters of the intestate shall be entitled in accordance with subsection (3a) to the other half;
                  (ii)         where neither parent survives the intestate — the brothers and sisters of the intestate and the children of deceased brothers and sisters of the intestate shall be entitled in accordance with subsection (3a) to the other half;
4.         dies leaving a husband or wife but no issue, parent, brother, sister or child of a brother or sister the surviving husband or wife shall be entitled to the whole of the intestate property;
5.         dies leaving issue but no husband or wife the issue shall be entitled in accordance with subsection (2b) to the whole of the intestate property;
6.         dies leaving a parent or parents and one or more of the following, namely, a brother or sister, or a child of a brother or sister, but leaving no husband or wife and no issue (a)         where the net value of the intestate property does not exceed the sum of $6 000 — the parent or parents shall be entitled (in equal shares where both survive the intestate) to the whole of the intestate property;
(b)         where the net value of the intestate property exceeds the sum of $6 000 — the parent or parents shall be entitled (in equal shares where both survive the intestate) to the sum of $6 000, absolutely, and of the residue, the parent or parents shall be entitled (in equal shares where both survive the intestate) to one half and the brothers and sisters of the intestate and the children of deceased brothers and sisters of the intestate shall be entitled in accordance with subsection (3a) to the other half;
7.         dies leaving a parent or parents but leaving no husband or wife and no issue, brother, sister or child of a brother or sister the parent or parents shall be entitled (in equal shares where both survive the intestate) to the whole of the intestate property;
8.         dies leaving one or more of the following, namely a brother or sister, or a child of a brother or sister, but leaving no husband or wife and no issue or parent the brothers and sisters of the intestate and the children of deceased brothers and sisters of the intestate shall be entitled in accordance with subsection (3a) to the whole of the intestate property;
9.         dies leaving no husband or wife and no issue, parent, brother, sister or child of a brother or sister but leaving a grandparent or grandparents the grandparent or grandparents shall be entitled (in equal shares where more than one survive the intestate) to the whole of the intestate property;
10.         dies leaving no husband or wife and no issue, parent, brother, sister, child of a brother or sister, or grandparent but leaving an uncle or aunt or a child of an uncle or aunt the uncles and aunts of the intestate and the children of deceased uncles and aunts of the intestate shall be entitled in accordance with subsection (3a) to the whole of the intestate property but in applying that subsection for the purposes of this item a reference in that subsection to a brother or sister, or a child of a brother or sister, of the intestate shall be construed as a reference to an uncle or aunt, or a child of an uncle or aunt, of the intestate, as the case may be;
11.         dies leaving no husband or wife and no issue, parent, brother, sister, child of a brother or sister, grandparent, uncle, aunt or child of an uncle or aunt the whole of the intestate property passes to the Crown by way of escheat

 

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