Arts Law Information Sheet

Intestacy Kit – South Australia


This Intestacy Kit has been developed to assist families of Indigenous artists who passed away without making a will. If the artist did leave a will, see the Wills Kit. The development of this resource is made possible through the support of Copyright Agency Ltd (CAL) and DLA Piper. For the complete version please download the document.

In this information sheet:

  1. Download the Full Intestacy Kit (with schedules) Here
  2. What is intestacy?

Download the Full Intestacy Kit (with schedules) Here 

What is intestacy? 

Usually, when an artist or other person passes away, their will is the document that sets out how they want their belongings to be distributed among their family and friends. If a person passes away without leaving a valid will, that person is said to have died “intestate”.  If they have a will but it only deals with some of that person’s belongings, that person is said to have passed away "partially intestate".

If a person passes away intestate, the laws of intestacy will determine who is entitled to have that person’s estate.  If the person passes away partially intestate, then the law determines how to distribute those things that are not covered by the will.  

In South Australia, the laws of intestacy are set out in the Administration and Probate Act 1919 (SA) (the Act).  The rules in this Act apply to the estate of any deceased person who left property, real or personal, in South Australia.  Intestacy rules will apply when the deceased did not leave a will or to any property that was not effectively covered by the deceased person’s will if they did leave one. 

Different rules may apply in relation to property that is located outside South Australia or to property in South Australia that belonged to a person who lived elsewhere at the time of their death. 

The intestacy rules may require the deceased person's assets to be distributed in a way that is very different to the outcome that the family of the deceased person expect, and may also be very different to the result that the deceased person would have wanted.  In particular, these rules may be very different from the traditional or customary way of dealing with the passing of an Indigenous person. For that reason, it is usually sensible to prepare a will to make sure that the estate goes to the family and community members that the artist believes should receive them.

In this information sheet, we focus on how the rules of intestacy will operate in relation to an Indigenous artist who was living in the South Australia at the time he or she passed away.

Need more help?

If you have questions about any of the topics discussed above please contact Arts Law.


The information in this information sheet is general. It does not constitute, and should be not relied on as, legal advice. The Arts Law Centre of Australia (Arts Law) recommends seeking advice from a qualified lawyer on the legal issues affecting you before acting on any legal matter.

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The Arts Law Centre of Australia has been assisted by the Commonwealth Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

Australian Government - Australia Council for the Arts