When a relative of yours dies, there is a legal process to see the settling of their estate. In all instances of this the deceased’s assets will first cover any debts or outstanding payments which they have. Once this aspect of the estate is settled, the remainder of the estate then goes to others. In some cases the entire estate goes to a single person, in other instances the estate is divided up with multiple beneficiaries receiving certain items or assets.
If you are wondering what your legal rights are to a family member’s deceased estate, here is what you need to know.
When There Is a Will
If the deceased has made a will in testament before they die, a deceased family lawyer or an independent executor will look to take charge of the estate in order for it to be settled in the eyes of the law. This will be followed to the letter, and each person mentioned in the will, is contacted by the lawyer and notified of what they have been left in this document. If a family member dies and you are not mentioned in the will, you have no rights to any aspect of the estate.
Contesting a Will
In some very rare cases there may be a chance to contest the will. There are some specialised lawyers who can take care of this kind of claim. In terms of a great family lawyer, Melbourne boasts a number who will take care of such claims, but it has to have solid grounds. For example if foul play is suspected then there may be grounds for contesting the will, but again this is a very rare occurrence.
If There Is No Will
If the deceased did not make a will then the estate will be passed on 100% to their spouse, if the deceased was not married then the children will receive the estate. This can become complex of course, and if there are no children involved then the nearest relative will be found. In some instances where there are no relatives, the value of the estate simply goes back to the state. Additionally if there are children and a spouse, but the estate is valued at over $450,000, the estate value over that amount may be divided between the children.
Always Take Legal Advice
Whilst these are the broad rules of what happens to the estate of a deceased family member, it is important to note that it is always the best idea to consult a deceased estate lawyer in the event of their death. These experts can easily guide you through this process, at what is likely to be a tough time, and help to settle the will quickly and without issue.
If you need any support, make sure you look for a local law firm that takes care of deceased estates, and book a consultation to get some advice on how you should proceed.