What Happens If You Die Without a Will?
South Australian law provides that, depending on the size of your estate, your children from previous relationships may receive nothing if you die intestate. For estates valued at less than $100,000, the entire estate goes to the surviving spouse or domestic partner unless a valid Will is in place. For larger estates, your spouse is entitled to the first $100,000, your personal belongings and half of the estate’s balance. Without litigation, at best your children will receive equal shares of the remaining balance (if any).
Potential Pitfalls of Failing to Provide for Your Children With a Will
What if you want your children from previous relationships to receive a larger share of the estate than your new spouse? What if you’re worried that your spouse will remarry and pass on the bulk of your estate to a new spouse or their children? You may trust your new spouse to care financially for your children from previous relationships, but what if they become estranged after you’re gone? In such cases, your spouse may decide that your children don’t deserve an inheritance and fail to provide for them.
However, even if your spouse tries to do the right thing, it is worth noting that (except in rare circumstances) marriage revokes all previous Wills. So if your spouse remarries after your death, and fails to make a new Will, then South Australian intestacy laws mean that your children (your widowed-spouse’s step children) will miss out altogether. South Australian intestacy laws do not make provision for step-children.
Furthermore, numerous creditors & predators, including ex-spouses and stepchildren, may try to obtain whatever they can from your estate if you do not have a Will. If they succeed, your own children’s share will be reduced dramatically. To ensure that your children from previous relationships receive what they deserve, you must prepare a Will that explicitly outlines your wishes under the guidance of an expert Adelaide estate planning lawyer.
Wills and Testamentary Trusts Lawyers in Adelaide
Failing to adequately provide for your biological and step children with a Will can not only deprive them of their rightful share of your estate but also cause them to suffer through lengthy legal battles with other parties trying to benefit from your death. To leave no room for doubt about the distribution of your estate, contact Genders & Partners in Adelaide today for your free phone consultation.