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The NSW Law Reform Commission has today released the results of a survey that shows who people want to leave their property to when they write a will.
The survey is part of the Commission's work on the rules of intestacy. The rules of intestacy determine how a person's property should be distributed when they die without a will.
The principal finding was that 75% of people who have a spouse and children choose to leave the whole of their property to their surviving spouse.
The survey also found that only 43% of persons with a spouse and children from another relationship chose to give everything to the surviving spouse. 31% of people in these cases gave everything to their children.
The survey examined 650 deceased estates that were filed in the Supreme Court's Probate Registry in September 2004.
Other findings included:
The Law Reform Commission is reviewing the law of intestacy on behalf of the National Committee for Uniform Succession Laws, which aims to recommend a national scheme for all aspects of succession law. The report on intestacy will be completed before the end of the year.
Research Report 13 [PDF, 1Mb], "I give, devise and bequeath: an empirical study of testators' choice of beneficiaries" may be found on the Commission's website (
www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au/lrc) or obtained from the Commission (tel 02 9228 8230).
Media enquiries: Professor Michael Tilbury, Full-time Commissioner, NSW Law Reform Commission, (02) 9228 8230.