A CHANGE to a 60 year old Victorian inheritance law came into place as of November 1, which will now grant automatic inheritance to a surviving partner, meaning the inheritance will no longer be shared with children when a partner passes away without a will in place.
Under the old law, if a person died intestate (without a will), their partner would have been entitled to the personal chattels, the first $100,000 of the estate and one third of the balance of the estate, with the remainder going to the child or children.
Rigby Cooke Lawyers’ special counsel and wills and estates specialist, Rachael Grabovic said the long-awaited amendment addresses the significant financial insecurity and angst surviving partners have faced under the current Victorian law.
“(Under the old law), for surviving partners with mortgages over jointly-owned property, the survivor often couldn’t cover the repayment of the mortgage with their share of the estate, which caused much strain and additional turmoil at an already distressing time,” Ms Grabovic said.
“The new law provides that where the intestate leaves a partner and children, or grandchildren or more remote lineal descendants of that particular relationship, the surviving partner is entitled to the whole of the intestate’s estate.
“Although I always recommend that a person prepares a will to clarify his or her testamentary wishes and intentions, the sweeping nature of this new law makes doing so even more important, particularly for anyone wishing for their estate to be administered differently upon their passing.”