*The contents in this blog relates to legislation in New South Wales.

Having a Will is important for every person – but particularly if you have children and you want to provide for them in the event that you pass away.

But what happens if you pass away without a Will? In New South Wales, a formula called ‘intestacy’ applies which sets out how your estate is to be divided amongst your next-of-kin. If you pass away without a spouse, then your child or children will be entitled to your estate.

It is important to be aware that the legal definition of ‘child’ only includes your biological children and any children that you have formally adopted. It does not include step-children, children that you have placed for adoption, or any other child who is dependent on you (such as a nice or nephew).

In the context of adopted children, it may become necessary for the person looking after your estate to obtain the adoption records to assist with administration. If these records are not readily available then they would have to be obtained from the Adoption Information Unit and this can take a minimum of 16 weeks.

In the context of step children or other dependants, it may be that you had a parent/child relationship with that child. However, if they are not your biological child and you have not adopted them then they will not be entitled to inherit your estate if you died without a Will (although they may be entitled to challenge your Estate in certain circumstances).

Does this all sound too complicated? The best way to avoid all of these uncertainties for your children (of whatever definition) is to make sure that you have a Will that clearly sets out how you would like to leave your assets when you die.

Call Turner Freeman today to arrange a consultation with one of our experienced Wills & Estates lawyers.