What happens to my property if I die without a will?

The jurisdiction is Victoria, Australia.

1 Answer 1


This situation is called dying 'intestate'. What happens depends on statutes in your jurisdiction.

In Victoria, the relevant rules are in sections 51 onwards of the Administration and Probate Act 1958 (Vic). In broad terms your property is split between your children and spouse and, if you don't have those, your parents. The legislation has a fixed formula for deciding who gets how much.

This division of property is subject to the 'family provision' provisions, also found in the Administration and Probate Act, which allow the court to make orders to reallocate your property to ensure your surviving family members are appropriately looked after.

You can also have a 'partial intestacy'. This is where you have a will that covers some but not all of your property. The same rules apply to a partial intestacy as to a full intestacy, with modifications as specified in the Administration and Probate Act.

  • 2
    Worth pointing out that joint property (e.g. joint tenancy in real estate or joint ownership of a car) reverts to any survivors and doesn't form part of the estate.
    – Dale M
    Feb 27, 2017 at 9:49
  • Also worth noting that distributions to heirs at law, which is the formal name for people who take via intestacy statutes, are often inferior, at least in part, to the claims of creditors against your probate estate, although sometimes a family provision or "exempt property" or a joint tenancy or beneficiary designation, will have priority over a creditor's claims.
    – ohwilleke
    Feb 28, 2017 at 8:53

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