Emil Ford Lawyers

Do I need a Will?


(It’s hard to talk when you’re 6ft under!)

Thinking of making a Will?
Contact us: or +61 2 9267 9800

If you die without leaving a Will, you have died “intestate”. Similarly, if you die leaving a Will which does not dispose effectively of all or part of your estate you have died wholly or partially “intestate”. If you die intestate, your estate will be distributed according to the intestacy laws operating in the state at the time of your death. If you would like your family, friends, Church, favourite charity etc to benefit from your estate according to YOUR wishes, make sure that you have a Will, professionally prepared by an experienced solicitor, and that you regularly review it from time to time.

So what happens to your estate if you die intestate?

New intestacy laws now operate in New South Wales. Under these new laws, your estate will be divided as follows:

If you have

  • a husband/wife/defacto and children with that partner: Your partner will receive your entire estate. However, if you have children from a previous relationship, the position becomes more complicated.
  • children from a prior relationship: Your children from a prior relationship will share the remainder of your estate after your surviving spouse receives your “personal effects”, a “statutory legacy” ($350,000 with an automatic indexing provision for changes in CPI) and one-half of the remainder (if any) of the estate.
  • multiple spouses (for example if you are married and also have a de facto partner): Here things get more complicated. Your estate will be distributed between your spouses in accordance with a written agreement between them (“a distribution agreement”) or in accordance with a court order (a “distribution order”).
  • no children or spouse but have other close statutory relatives: The basic order of distribution of your Estate would be as follows:

       1. Parents;
       2. Siblings;
       3. Grandparents;
       4. Aunts and Uncles;
       5. Cousins.
  • indigenous heritage: There is provision for the Court, on application by an appropriate person, to make a distribution order under the laws, customs, traditions and practices of the indigenous person.
  • no living relatives at all: The State of New South Wales will be entitled to the whole of your estate. However, the State will have discretion to waive the State’s rights in whole or in part in favour of persons or an organisation for whom the intestate might reasonably be expected to have made provision.

In short, leaving a professionally prepared Will simplifies the process of distributing your estate. It may also relieve your friends and relatives of unnecessary anxiety or confusion over your wishes. You would be wise to give this issue proper consideration today.

Feel free to download the following instruction forms to complete and send to us.

∙ Instructions for Will (single person) or complete the online form;
∙ Instructions for Will (husband and wife) or complete the online form;

Thinking of making a Will?
Contact us: or +61 2 9267 9800


Suite 4 Level 5
580 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: +61 2 9267 9800
Fax: +61 2 9283 2553