If a person dies without a Will, or with an invalid Will, they die intestate. The Administration and Probate Act 1919 specifies who will benefit from the assets of the deceased and who can be appointed an administrator (a similar role to that of an executor).
An application similar to a grant of Probate will need to be submitted. Similar responsibilities to that of an executor (the payment of liabilities including tax, distribution of the estate, controlling and securing assets and generally representing the interests of the deceased) apply to administrators, with additional requirements being imposed because the deceased did not choose the administrator.
The Probate Rules determine the order of priority for those who can apply to be administrators of an intestate estate.
A person in a lower priority cannot an application unless those above them have died, do not exist or renounce.
The order of priority is:
Spouse (or domestic partner)
Children of the deceased (or grandchildren)
Father or Mother of the deceased
Brothers and Sisters of the deceased
…and so on.
How will the estate be divided?
The Administration and Probate Act determines who (and how much) each person in relation to the deceased is entitled from an intestate estate.
If the deceased is survived by children only (no spouse) then those children will inherit the estate equally between them.
If the deceased was survived by a spouse only and no children than the spouse will inherit the entire estate.
If the deceased is survived by a spouse AND children then the spouse will receive the first $100,000 in value and half of the remainder whilst the children will inherit the other half of the estate equally between them.
WARNING:If any beneficiary to an intestate estate is a minor child or incapacitated then their share must be paid over to the Public Trustee for administration.