Around 45% of Australians don’t have a Will. Mainly because many people don’t like to think about anything related to death or dying. But have you ever wondered what happens if you die without a valid Will?

If you die ‘intestate’ (in other words, without a valid Will) in Queensland, an Administrator will manage your Estate, according to Intestacy Rules.

These rules govern the distribution of your Estate to your next of kin, including your spouse, de facto, children and grandchildren.

If you don’t have a spouse or offspring, then your Estate will go to your parents, brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces, then grandparents, then uncles, aunts and cousins. In-laws and Step-parents aren’t classified as next of kin so they’re not included.

It all sounds very simple… but if your wishes aren’t known, you’ll have no say as to who gets what.

The benefit of writing a Will is that it’s clear to everyone what your desires are. If you always pictured your daughter wearing your Weddings Rings after you’re gone, make sure it’s in writing. If you’d like some of your savings to go to a particular charity, make sure that’s included. And importantly, if you have small children, have a good think about who you’d like to take care of them if something happens to you and make sure you ask their potential legal guardians if they’re okay with the idea, too. It’s a big responsibility, after all.

Something else to consider, is letting your family know what you’d like to happen to you after you die.

Would you like to be buried, or cremated? Where would you like to be laid to rest? Would you like to donate your organs?

Lastly, you might consider pre-planning or pre-paying your funeral so that your family has one less thing to worry about when the time comes. Make sure you keep all relevant paper-work together with your Will, so it’s easy to find.

Your will is very personal, so make the time to sit down and think about everyone and everything that’s important to you to ensure it’s not left up to the legal system to make these decisions for you.