What Happens if Someone Dies Without a Will?

Have you ever wondered what happens when a loved one passes away without creating a will? Dying without a will (known as dying “intestate”) can create a tricky situation, and it’s generally not as simple as just splitting their estate neatly in parts for each relative.

So what’s the process when someone dies intestate? We’ve outlined what you can expect if a family member passes without making their wishes known.

Who handles the estate when someone dies without a will?

When someone passes away without a will, their estate needs an administrator – that is, someone to handle the logistics of dealing with assets, settling debts, and distributing any benefits to the family of the deceased.

What is the difference between an estate administrator and an executor?

This estate administrator will have a very similar role to an executor. The point of difference is an executor is nominated by a person with a valid will, whereas an administrator has applied for the role and been approved by a court when a person dies intestate. Learn all about the executor’s role in our comprehensive estate executor’s guide.

Who can help with estate administration?

Specialised estate lawyers like QEL can help with everything from applying for letters of administration through to administering the estate. You can also turn to the Public Trustee, who assist with these types of matters for a fee.

For more information on what to do when someone dies without a will, contact us online or give our friendly team a call on 1300 580 413.

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Last updated: 07 May 2019