Finder makes money from featured partners, but editorial opinions are our own.

What happens if you die without a will in Victoria?

If you die without a will in Victoria and don't have a partner who you live with, any children you have will be next in line to inherit. Otherwise your assets go to the State of Victoria.

If someone dies without a will, then they have died "intestate". This means that the assets of the person who has died are handled by the state government. When this happens, there are laws in place, with a clear order of operations for inheritance, to make sure descendants and partners can get the assets to which they are entitled.

Here's what'll happen if you die without a will in Victoria.

Dying without a will in Victoria

If you die without a will in Victoria, in legal terms your death is classed as intestate. What this means is that your assets, debts and possessions are not distributed as you may have hoped, but instead according to a legal formula created by the Victorian government. If this occurs to you or a close loved one, then you – or a lawyer on your behalf – will need to submit an application for a Grant of Letters of Administration. In most cases, the grant goes to the deceased's next of kin – usually their spouse or child.

You don't need a lawyer to write a will, though it is recommended. You can find out more about how to write a will here.

Intestacy rules in Victoria

In Victoria, if all of a person's property is not disposed of by a will when they die, they leave what is referred to as "intestacy". This is often what happens if you die without a will, your will is not valid or your will only disposes of some of your assets. In Victoria, the deceased person's assets usually go to the next of kin, but if they don't have a partner, child or any other relative, their assets go to the State of Victoria.

If there's no will, who inherits the estate?

The first people who get taken care of, both by a will and by intestate assets, are people who are owed money. All debts need to be repaid including the following:

  1. Funeral expenses
  2. Taxes
  3. Debts to any financial institutions or other lenders
  4. Any outstanding administrative or legal expenses.

After this, any assets listed in a will are distributed as specified. Anything not mentioned in a will is then distributed according to the intestate laws.

What kind of assets get passed on?

Assets that can be passed on from a deceased estate include:

  • Real estate, for example any property or land owned by the deceased
  • Money in bank accounts
  • Shares, for example investments in stocks
  • Personal possessions
  • Income, for example active income, passive income and portfolio income

Will my spouse automatically inherit everything in Victoria?

Yes. In Victoria the spouse or de facto partner automatically inherits the whole estate. If there were also children from another relationship then some of the estate may go to those children, depending on how much money was left behind. This only happens if there is still around $500,000 in the estate after all debts and funeral expenses have been paid.

If the deceased had no will and no partner, the estate will be distributed to relatives in this order:

  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • Grandparents
  • Uncles and aunts
  • Cousins

If there are no living relatives found, the estate will pass to the state government. These rules applies to anyone who died after November 2017.

Name Product Free consultation Starting price Fixed fees Areas of practice
State Trustees
State Trustees
$69 Online Will (one-time flat fee)
Online Will
Will Appointment
Powers of Attorney
Executor of your will
Deceased Estate Administration
Get quote
$160 Single Wills, $240 Partner Wills, $99 POA, $699 Assisted Probate Service, $1,799 Managed Probate Service
Single Wills, Partner Wills, Power of Attorney, Probate & Letters of Administration
Australia's highest rated Will platform.
Get quote
Gathered Here
Gathered Here
Wills, Probate
Get peace of mind with Australia’s #1 online Will-writing service.
Get quote
$79 per month (basic membership billed monthly)

$69 per month (legal advice plan billed annually at $828)
Legal documents, company registration, business, employment
Lawpath provides access to a template to complete your Last Will and Testament online.
Get quote
$39 per month after the free trial ends or $9.50 - $49 flat rate access to a single document.
Legal documents, forms, contracts
Create a last will and testament online by answering a questionnaire.
Get quote
Varies per template
Legal documents, templates
Write your own will using Legal 123's DIY kit. Get assistance with online videos and telephone support.
Get quote

What is a grant of administration?

In order to properly distribute assets, someone needs to be appointed as an estate administrator. This person is responsible for making sure the estate is distributed correctly in line with the rules set out above. To become an estate administrator, you will need to apply for a grant of administration from the courts. This is essentially a notice which lets you withdraw the deceased's funds from banks, pay back creditors on their behalf and otherwise manage the finances as needed.

Generally, the only people who can get a grant of administration are those who have good reason to get one, such as a lawyer hired by an inheritor or someone in line to get a portion of the estate.

Applications need to include detailed information about the estate, and the administrator will have to do a lot of groundwork before they can get access to the deceased's property in order to distribute it. Unless you're confident in the application process and your ability to track down any eligible inheritors, it's generally a good idea to use a lawyer.

How to apply for a grant

In order to get a grant of administration, you will need to prove that you have satisfied all of the following steps. A wills lawyer can do the following on your behalf.

Number 1

Conduct a search for a will

You still need to do this even if the deceased has said there isn't one. Check all their papers, their bank, any solicitors or accountants they might have used and any likely trustee companies. Your search should also be publicised.

Number 2

Get certificates

Get a death certificate and proof of your relationship to the deceased.

Number 3

Lay out entitlements

Your application needs to outline who is entitled to a share of the assets under intestate law in Victoria.

Number 4

Advertise your intention to apply

You need to advertise your intention to apply for a grant of administration on the state registry. It will take at least two weeks before you hear back. This is so other people with an interest in the estate, such as creditors and other eligible relatives, have an opportunity to get involved.

Number 5

File the paperwork

After these steps, you can file an application for a letter of administration.

Why you can trust Finder's life insurance experts


We're free

You pay the same as buying directly from the life insurer. Better still, we regularly run exclusive deals that you won't find on any other site – plus, our tables make it easy to compare policies.
expert advice

We're experts

Our team of life insurance experts have researched and rated dozens of policies as part of our Finder Awards and published 250+ guides to make it easier for you to compare.

We're independent

Unlike other comparison sites, we're not owned by an insurer. That means our opinions are our own and we work with lots of life insurance brands, making it easier for you to find a good deal.

We're here to help

Since 2016, we've helped 270,000+ people find life insurance by explaining your cover options, simply and clearly. We'll never ask for your number or email. We're here to help you make a decision.

More guides on Finder

Go to site