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The most commonly requested Will arrangements involve a couple leaving all of their property to each other in the first instance if one of them passes away. And if they are both deceased it is then passed on to their children or other family members.
But under the current Queensland law if you pass away without a Will a large part of your property would legally pass directly to your children NOT to your spouse. This happens regardless of the age of your children or the financial consequences that may result.
Under Queensland Succession Law your spouse is only entitled to receive the first $150,000 available in the estate. Your spouse is also then entitled to all of the household property (usually called chattels) such as furniture and white goods.
But then, the rest of your property is divided between your spouse and children regardless of how much it may be worth. This could include your house, investment properties, a business, cars, jewellery, shares or artwork.
If you have one child they receive half of this property and your spouse receives the other half. If you have two or more children they share two-thirds and your spouse receives just one-third.
Rarely, if ever, is this distribution of property the ideal situation for you and your family.
For single people with no children their entire estate goes to their parents – even though most single people preparing a Will choose to pass their property on to siblings or nephews and nieces.
Being one of the 50% of people that does have a Will ensures your property passes the way YOU want it to, not how the government decides it should.