What are the requirements for receiving a distribution from an estate?

I am often asked by clients both during the preparation of their Will, and in the administration of a deceased estate, what the requirements are for beneficiaries to receive a distribution from an estate.

Succession Act 1981 (QLD)

The Succession Act has several provisions surrounding beneficiaries receiving distributions from an estate. These include:

  1. Survive by 30 days – If a Willmaker makes a distribution to a beneficiary in their Will and the beneficiary dies within 30 days after the Willmaker’s death, the beneficiary is treated as if they had died immediately before the Willmaker. This section of the act does not apply if a contrary intention appears in the Will;
  1. What if two people die at the same time? – If two or more persons have died in circumstances where it is uncertain which of them survived the other (eg. In a car crash or other accident involving both people), the younger person will be deemed to have survived the elder person for a period of one day for all purposes affecting title to property. This is a particularly crucial section of the act to determine who will benefit from a Will if there is a property owned as joint tenants. In this case the property will then pass down the estate of the tenant who is deemed to have passed away second;
  1. Children – Distributions made to a Willmaker’s children must be distributed in the same way as their estate would be distributed if they had died without a Will, leaving only their children surviving them. This section of the act does not apply if a contrary intention appears in the Will.

I’m confused about whether or not I should benefit from a Willmaker’s estate. What should I do?

If you feel that you should receive a distribution under a Will, you should contact an experienced estate litigation lawyer. Please contact me if you would like advice or assistance.

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