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Adrian Corbould: Welcome. I’m Adrian Corbould, Accredited Specialist, Wills & Estates at Turnbull Hill Lawyers. Welcome to the Battle of Wills video series where I’ll be talking about contested estate matters generally, disputed Wills and the like. Today I’m going to be talking about the spousal legacy in intestacy. Intestacy is when someone dies without a valid Will. It comes from the Latin, meaning no Will. Under the Succession Act in New South Wales, which is the law that covers intestacy, a surviving spouse receives the primary benefit depending on if there’s any surviving children of the deceased.

If you’re the surviving spouse and the deceased had no children at all, you receive your spouse’s entire estate, that’s everything. If you’re the deceased’s surviving spouse and the deceased has also surviving children, and those children are yours and the deceased only, then you receive the entire estate. If you’re the surviving spouse and the deceased had children that survived after them but they’re not yours, then you will receive what’s known as their spousal legacy.

The spousal legacy is what a surviving spouse receives if there are surviving children who aren’t yours. What that legacy is, is all the chattels, all the deceased personal items and an amount which increases over time based on CPI, When the Act first started, it was $350,000, but it changes over time, so that has to be calculated as at the date of death. In addition to the spousal legacy, the surviving spouse also receives half of what’s left over and the deceased surviving children receive the other half shared equally between them.

Just to recap, what a surviving spouse receives in intestacy is based primarily on if the deceased had children. If they had children, to whom did they have those children with? I hope that’s been of some use to you, that’s all for today. Look forward to talking to you next time.

Turnbull Hill Lawyers, and specifically Adrian Corbould and Mary Windeyer, have been named in the prestigious 2022 Doyles Guide. Both were also listed in the 2021, 2020, 2019 and 2018 guides.

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