Succession Laws

In March 2012 the Commission was asked by the Attorney-General to conduct a review of the laws of succession. The Victorian review followed a nationwide project conducted by the National Committee for Uniform Succession Laws.

The purpose of the review was to ensure that Victorian law operates justly, fairly and in accordance with community expectations. 

In conducting the review, the Commission was mindful of changes in community expectations arising from increasingly complex family structures, longer life spans and a more accessible legal system. The Commission considered how well succession laws protect will-makers from undue influence, recognise their significant relationships, safeguard the rights of beneficiaries and creditors and ensure that estates are not depleted by unnecessary or unreasonable costs.

The Commission published six short consultation papers, each dealing with a separate issue in succession law. Links to these papers are below.

The Commission received 46 submissions, and consulted widely.  

The Commission's report was tabled in Parliament on 15 October 2013. The report contains 78 recommendations to reform the law. 

The recommendations aim to:

  • reduce the costs of administering small estates, making it easier and cheaper to administer an estate when a person dies.

  • make the law clearer about which family members can challenge a will under family provision laws.

  • make the commissions and costs charged by executors more transparent, and provide new avenues for resolving disputes.

  • provide better public information to help will-makers, administrators and executors of wills.

  • bring Victoria in line with other states in relation to various succession laws.

You can download the report, and other documents related to the inquiry, from the links below.

Implementation

In 2014 the Justice Legislation Amendment (Succession and Surrogacy) Bill was introduced into Parliament. Part 1 (Preliminary) and Part 6 (Surrogacy) came into operation on 30 October 2014. The remaining provisions of the Justice Legislation Amendment (Succession and Surrogacy) Act 2015 came into operation on 1 July 2015. 

The main purpose of the Act is to amend the Administration and Probate Act 1958 (Vic) in relation to: 

  • family provision claims 
  • the rules for the payment of debts of an estate
  • the administration of small estates, and 
  • to amend the court authorised wills scheme in the Wills Act 1997. 

Other amendments have been made in relation to surrogacy law. 

The aim of the Act is to ensure that Victorian succession laws operate justly, fairly and in accordance with community expectations in relation to the way that property is dealt with after a person dies. The Act implements a number of recommendations from the Commission’s final report, including The Commission’s recommendations on statutory wills, small estates and the payment of debts, among others.

View the Justice Legislation Amendment (Succession and Surrogacy) Act 2015

 

 

Timeline

Current: Table in parliament

Full timeline:

Reference
Consultation
Submissions
Final report
Tabled in parliament
View full timeline

Project Publications

Succession Laws: Report (html)

The Commission's report on Victoria's succession laws was tabled in the Victorian Parliament on 15 October 2013. Use the menu on the right to...

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Succession Laws: Report (pdf)

The Commission's report on its review of succession laws was tabled in the Victorian Parliament on 15 October 2013. You can download the pdf from the...

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Succession Laws: Received Submissions

The Commission received 46 submissions in response to the Succession Laws consultation papers. See the links below to the public submissions,...

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Succession Laws: Costs rules in succession proceedings (pdf)

This short information paper describes costs in succession proceedings generally. See the Commission's consultation papers on wills and family...

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Succession Laws: Consultation Paper - Debts (pdf)

This consultation paper concerns the way personal representatives are required to deploy assets of the estate towards the payment of estate debts....

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Succession Laws: Consultation Paper - Small Estates (pdf)

This consultation paper seeks views on processes that affect the administration of small estates. This paper is one of a series of six papers that...

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Succession Laws: Consultation Paper - Wills (pdf)

This consultation paper concerns the Commission’s terms of reference relating to wills, which include witnessing wills and undue influence, statutory...

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Succession Laws: Consultation Paper - Family Provision (pdf)

This consultation paper concerns the law of family provision and the costs rules and principles applied in family provision proceedings. This paper...

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Succession Laws: Consultation Paper - Intestacy (pdf)

This consultation paper concerns the rules of intestacy, which govern the distribution of a person's property after they die without a will This...

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Succession Laws: Consultation Paper - Executors (pdf)

This consultation paper concerns the payment of commission to executors for their time and trouble in administering a deceased person's estate. It...

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Succession Laws: Consultation Paper - Small Estates (html)

  This paper seeks to describe the existing processes that affect small estates. It provides an overview of the current law in Victoria and reviews...

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Succession Laws: Consultation Paper - Family Provision (html)

  This consultation paper discusses problems that have arisen in the family provision jurisdiction, in particular: •    the extent to which the...

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Succession Laws: Consultation Paper - Intestacy (html)

  This consultation paper discusses the policy and principles that underpin intestacy law, and the information available about the number and...

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Succession Laws: Consultation Paper - Executors (html)

  The Commission has been asked to review and report on the following matters concerning charges made to the estate  by executors: Whether  a court...

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Succession Laws: Consultation Paper - Debts (html)

  This consultation paper concerns the way in which personal representatives are required to deploy assets of the estate towards the payment of...

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Succession Laws: Consultation Paper - Wills (html)

  This consultation paper seeks views on the Commission’s terms of reference relating to wills, which concern: witnessing wills and undue influence...

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Succession Laws: Quiz - Questions

The Victorian Law Reform Commission is carrying out a review of Victoria's succession laws. How well informed are you about the law? Try our quick...

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Succession Laws: Quiz - Answers

Question 1c. The only requirements for a witness to your will are that the witness is 18 or over, and can see you signing (ie. is not blind)....

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Succession Laws: Terms of Reference (pdf)

The Victorian Law Reform Commission is asked to review and report on the desirability of legislative or other reform in relation to the succession...

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