A Queensland family have been surprised to learn they are the rightful recipients of a $1.4 million inheritance.
When Marcel* died in 2018, he didn’t have a will, leading the NSW Trustee & Guardian on a worldwide search for the rightful recipients of his fortune.
The NSW Trustee & Guardian said Marcel had developed dementia, but momentos he had kept over the years became clues in tracking down his family.
The NSW government agency has a small team of genealogy researchers who have found more than 500 people from across the globe in the past 12 months alone.
In Marcel’s case, their family tree search went as far as Paris before the team discovered eight nieces and nephews living in Queensland and Victoria.
Years after losing contact, the family were shocked to learn they would share in the $1.4 million inheritance.
When a person dies without a valid will, they are said to have died intestate. Administrators of intestate estates in NSW - such as the NSW Trustee & Guardian - are required by NSW law to prove who are the rightful recipients of the estate.
They must collate evidence and follow a strict family order set by the Succession Act 2006.
“This involves tracking down people entitled to assets such as real estate, money in bank accounts, superannuation or other investments,” NSW Trustee & Guardian director of legal and professional services Ruth Pollard said.
Pollard said Marcel’s story reminded the community of the importance of having a will.
“Marcel’s story demonstrates the lengths we go to, to find who is rightfully entitled to an estate. However, things can be much simpler and quicker if you have a will,” Pollard said.
“No one knows what life will bring, so it’s really important to have peace of mind that your wishes are respected, and your loved ones are taken care of when you die.”
*Names have been changed for privacy reasons.