Hon John Quigley LLB JP MLA

Hon John Quigley LLB JP MLA

Attorney General; Minister for Electoral Affairs

    Overhaul of statutory legacy scheme brings fairness to WA families

    23/03/2022 9:45 AM
    • Administration Amendment Bill 2021 (WA) passes State Parliament
    • Updated scheme increases the amount of the statutory legacies payable on intestacy
    • Includes formula for calculating the amount of statutory legacies in the future

    Western Australia's outdated laws relating to how property is distributed amongst family members following the death of a loved one who do not have a will have finally been overhauled.


    The passage of the Administration Amendment Bill 2021 (WA) through State Parliament brings WA into line with other Australian jurisdictions by updating the existing statutory scheme for the distribution of property.


    Intestacy occurs when the whole or part of the estate of a deceased person is not disposed of by a will. The property that has not been dealt with effectively by a will is usually distributed according to a regime established by State laws.


    The updated scheme increases the payment to a surviving spouse or partner from $50,000 to $472,000 if the deceased dies leaving direct descendants, such as children or grandchildren. If the deceased dies leaving a surviving spouse or partner but no direct descendants, the amount is increased from $75,000 to $705,000. A surviving partner includes a de-facto partner or same-sex partner.


    Parents who lose a child are entitled to $6,000 under the current scheme. Whilst no amount of money can compensate for the loss of a child, the parental statutory legacy has been increased to $56,500.


    A formula for calculating the amount of the statutory legacies into the future has been included in the legislation, requiring the amount to be reviewed every two years.


    Comments attributed to Attorney General John Quigley:


    "Dependents of those who die without a valid will across the country are entitled to fair statutory legacy payments.


    "However, in Western Australia the statutory legacy has remained critically low for four decades. It has not been amended since 1982.


    "Whilst the McGowan Government has addressed this issue, the most important thing people can do to avoid their estate being distributed according to a pre-determined formula is to have a will prepared by a lawyer.


    "We've also introduced a formula for calculating the amount of the statutory legacies in the future, which requires the relevant minister to review the amount of the statutory legacies every two years."


    Attorney General's office - 6552 6800