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How To Get An Inheritance (Qld)

You can get an inheritance from a deceased estate in Queensland if you are a beneficiary of a testator’s will, successfully contest the provisions of a will, or (where there is no valid will) you are entitled to inherit under intestacy rules. This article explores the three different scenarios that answer the question: “How to get an inheritance in Queensland?”

What Is An Inheritance?

Inheritance is money or property that someone receives from a person after their death.

How To Get An Inheritance From A Will In QLD

When a will is valid, then the beneficiaries listed in that document can expect to receive an inheritance of money or property. However, if someone successfully contests the will and the court orders redistribution of the estate, then the beneficiary may no longer receive the bequest.

How a person actually gets an inheritance depends on the nature of the asset and the executor’s preference. For example, when an executor is also the major beneficiary of a will, he or she can simply choose to make a bank transfer directly to another account. By contrast, a solicitor will typically make dispersals from a trust account in the form of a trust account cheque.

How Long Does it Take To Get An Inheritance?

Often people assume that a beneficiary under a will receives their inheritance quickly. Actually, a beneficiary will usually have to wait at least six months before receiving their inheritance. In Queensland, an executor must delay distribution of the deceased estate for at least this long to give creditors and claimants a chance to make a claim against the deceased estate. An executor will typically take up to a year to fully wrap up the deceased’s affairs, so it may take even longer than six months for the beneficiary to receive their inheritance.

The law encourages an executor to finish the administration of an estate without delay by imposing an interest rate of 8% (or a court-ordered rate) per annum on inheritances that are not finalised in the first year. Yet the finalisation of an estate may take longer than 12 months, especially if the estate is involved in ongoing litigation. In such a case, an executor may be personally liable if they distribute an estate prematurely, and give away property that the court later awards to a creditor or Family Provision Claimant.

Making A Family Provision Claim

There is a way to get an inheritance even if you are not a designated beneficiary under a will. An eligible person may feel that they are entitled to greater provision from a deceased estate than is reflected in a will. In this case, they can make a Family Provision Claim to the Supreme Court of Queensland in order to get an appropriate inheritance.

The Succession Act 1981 outlines eligibility criteria for making a Family provision Claim against a deceased estate. In Queensland, the deceased’s spouse, de facto partner, child and dependent may contest the will in order to get an inheritance.

How To Get An Inheritance Through A Family Provision Claim

The first thing that a claimant should do is contact the executor of the estate and see if they think the claim has merit. A solicitor can help a claimant negotiate with an executor so that they can avoid a protracted legal case.

On the other hand, if the executor is not willing to reach a settlement, the claimant can proceed and ask the court to recognise that there needs to be a redistribution of the will. The court assesses Family Provision Claims on a case-by-case basis, considering aspects such as whether the deceased has a responsibility to the applicant and the applicant’s financial needs.

How To Get An Inheritance From An Intestate Estate

When a family member passes away without making a will, the process to get an inheritance is actually quite straightforward. In Queensland, there is a statutory order of succession that ensures that the closest family members receive the estate of the deceased. As such, a spouse inherits everything unless the deceased had children, in which case the spouse receives the first $150,000, household possessions and a third of the residual estate. The children inherit everything in equal shares if there is no spouse. If the deceased passed away leaving no spouse or children, then the estate is distributed to the next of kin, in order from the parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, grandparents, and aunts and uncles.

The Contested Wills Team at Armstrong Legal can provide advice on how to get an inheritance in Queensland. The team can help if you are a beneficiary of a will, need to contest an unfair will, or are unsure whether you are eligible to inherit from an intestate estate. Contact our specialist solicitors on 1300 038 223 for any legal assistance or representation.

Dr Nicola Bowes

This article was written by Dr Nicola Bowes

Dr Nicola Bowes holds a Bachelor of Arts with first class honours from the University of Tasmania, a Bachelor of Laws with first class honours from the Queensland University of Technology, and a PhD from The University of Queensland. After a decade working in higher education, Nicola joined Armstrong Legal in 2020.

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