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OVERHAUL OF INTESTACY LAWS: what does this mean for you as a spouse

As at 29 March 2022, the Administration Act 1903 WA, the legislative vehicle that sets out to whom and how your estate is to be divided in the event that YOU DO NOT HAVE A WILL, has changed drastically.

The main changes to the legislation impact greatly on how much spouses are entitled to in the event their spouse dies without a Will.

The provision for a surviving spouse where the deceased dies leaving a spouse and children has increased from $50,000 (plus interest and household effects) plus one third of the balance, to $472,000 plus one third of the balance. The remaining two thirds of the estate passes to the deceased’s surviving children (and/or the children of a deceased child).

Where a person dies leaving a spouse but no children, the surviving spouse's entitlement increases from $75,000 plus one half of the balance (as legislated in 1982) to $705,000 plus one half of the balance. The other half of the estate is shared between the surviving parents, who now receive the first $56,500 and one half of the remaining balance. The deceased’s siblings (or children of any deceased siblings) receive the other half of the balance.

The law was not changed since 1982 and calls to change the monetary limits were justifiably made given inflation and the need for ongoing satisfactory financial maintenance of a spouse.

Most importantly, to avoid situations where statutory limits are no longer a true reflection of the needs of a spouse, the legislation provides for the legacy amounts contained within the Act to be reviewed on a regular basis.

The amendments are necessary and welcomed and mean that spouses will more fairly be provided for, easing the stress on families.

In order to avoid the legislation providing for how your estate is to be divided, drafting Wills is the best way to safeguard your wishes. Contact us today to prepare your will.

We provide advice and representation in contested intestacy matters.

Author: Danielle De Roberto


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