You already have a plan, but it’s written by the government. If you write a Will, you are dictating your own plan.
What if you die without a will
If you die without a will, Part 3 – Distribution of Intestate Estates in the Wills and Succession Act sets out how a deceased person’s estate will be distributed and who will inherit. The Estate Administration Act (PDF, 344 KB)lists the persons who will be given preference to apply for a grant of administration where there is no will. The grant will set out who will be the personal representative.
No immediate family
If you have no immediate family and no will, the rules for distributing your estate can be found in the Parentelic Distribution chart (PDF, 91 KB).
Personal Directive and Enduring Power of Attorney
In addition to a will, it’s important to think about what you would want to happen if you were no longer able to make personal or financial decisions before you die. A Personal Directive and Enduring Power of Attorney let you choose someone to manage your personal and financial affairs if you are still alive but unable to make decisions (for example, due to an illness or injury).
A Personal Directive is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone to make decisions for you if, due to illness or injury, you no longer have the capacity to make personal decisions. This is often referred to as no longer having capacity to make decisions.
These decisions include where you will live or the medical treatment you will receive.
If you’re giving the authority to someone else to make decisions for you, you’re called the maker. The person you pass the authority to is called the agent.
Enduring Power of Attorney
An Enduring Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf.
If you’re the one giving the authority to someone else to make financial decisions for you, you’re called the donor. The person you give the authority to is called the attorney.
A person (called a ‘personal representative’) appointed by the court to administer the deceased estate (for example, when a person dies without a will or where a will does not name an executor).
Adult interdependent partner
Under the Adult Interdependent Relationships Act, a person is the adult interdependent partner of another person if:
- the person has lived with the other person in a relationship of interdependence for a continuous period of 3 years or more
- the person has lived with the other person in a relationship of some permanence if there is a child of the relationship by birth or adoption
- the person has entered into an adult interdependent partner agreement with the other person:
- persons who are related to each other by blood or adoption may only become adult interdependent partners by entering into an adult interdependent partner agreement
A person who receives money or other property from an estate.
A person whose descent can be traced to a particular individual. A lineal descendant means a person who is in direct line to an ancestor for all generations (such as a child, grandchild, great-grandchild, etc.).
A person (called a ‘personal representative’) appointed by a testator to carry out the directions set out in their will.
An estate, or any part of an estate, that is not distributed by a will (for example, where there is no will or where the will does not deal with the specific property).
A person who is either an executor or an administrator of the estate of a deceased individual. Generally, a personal representative of a deceased estate is responsible for the administration of the estate, which includes all duties from locating assets, paying debts and funeral costs, to distributing estate property to beneficiaries.
A testator is an individual who makes a will.
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