Will my spouse automatically inherit everything when I die?

We have some answers for one of your most frequently-asked questions.
Will my spouse automatically inherit everything when I die?

If you’d like all your assets to be given straight to your spouse when you die, and figure there’s no real need to write a Will because, well, you think it’s pretty obvious that that’s what you want – we have some helpful news for you.

You’re gonna need to write that Will, friend. Pronto. Or else, arguments are likely to ensue.

If you want your spouse to inherit everything when you die, there are some pretty important steps we’d recommend following. We’ll detail them below.

But first, what happens if you die without a Will?

When someone dies without a Will, they’re referred to as ‘intestate’. This means that the laws of the state or territory in which they live will decide on how their estate is administered.

If a loved one is intestate, you (or the deceased’s next of kin) will need to take some steps to ensure their estate is distributed according to what the deceased would have wanted. Learn about intestate laws in each state in this guide.

While many choose to leave their entire estate to their spouse, there are also often other considerations an individual might need to take into account when dividing up assets. For example, they might want to leave some of their money or other assets to their children (from a current or previous relationship). If this isn’t stipulated in a Will, chances are, the individual’s spouse will gain access to all (or most of) their estate.

What happens if a person dies without a Will and they don’t have a spouse?

If there were children, but no partner, the estate is typically distributed to the children equally. However, if they don’t have children, the estate will usually be distributed in the following order:

  1. Parents
  2. Siblings
  3. Grandparents
  4. Aunts and uncles
  5. Cousins

I’m in a de facto relationship. What does this mean if my spouse dies without a Will?

A domestic or ‘de facto’ relationship is when two people aren’t married, but they live together as a couple (or have done so in the past).

You will need to have lived in a domestic or de facto relationship for at least two years, or have a child together, or have formally registered your relationship, before you can benefit from your partner’s deceased estate if they haven’t written a Will.

So, what is your biggest recommendation for me and my loved ones?

Write a Will.

When someone dies intestate, complications can arise when family members feel entitled to certain assets, especially if you’ve mentioned giving specific items away to certain loved ones or your spouse when you die. And if you’ve been living in a de facto relationship for less than two years, you’re going to need to ensure you stipulate wanting your assets to be administered to your partner.

Writing a Will is the best way to ensure all your assets, including property and money within bank accounts, are given to the right people, and eliminates arguments amongst loved ones after your passing.

If you’re yet to write your Will – but are keen to get started – you can start writing your legal Will online with Willed in just 15 minutes.

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