The information provided below is general in nature and should not be relied upon legal advice. You should call 03 5445 1000 and speak to a lawyer at OFRM about your particular circumstances.

What happens to my personal and household items when I die?

What happens to my personal and household items when I die?

Your personal and household items may have great sentimental value to you. These items might include your jewellery, your paintings, or an antique; however it also includes items such as your general household furniture, white goods and motor vehicles.

As long as these items stay in the family, you might not mind who they go to upon your death. However if items have particular sentimental importance or are worth a lot of money you may want to specifically provide in your Will who inherits these items.

In will language, your personal and household items are termed your “personal chattels”. This term is defined under the Administration and Probate Act to include (and some of these descriptions show the age of the Act):

  • carriages
  • horses stable
  • furniture and effects (not used for business purposes)
  • motor cars and accessories (not used for business purposes)
  • garden effects
  • domestic animals
  • plate plated articles
  • linen
  • china
  • glass
  • books
  • pictures
  • prints
  • furniture
  • jewellery
  • articles of household or personal use or ornament
  • musical and scientific instruments and apparatus
  • wines liquors and consumable stores

but does not include any chattels used at the death of the intestate for business purposes nor money or securities for money.

What if I don’t leave any instructions in my Will?

If you do not make any provisions in your Will about who these items should pass to, they are dealt with in accordance with the residue of your Estate. This may see everything going to your spouse or partner. Failing your spouse or partner, all may go to your children or your back-up beneficiary (depending on how your Will is drafted).

If you die without a Will, your personal chattels will be distributed in accordance with the rules of intestacy.

Overall, you might be happy to see your personal chattels falling into the residue of your Estate, therefore passing to whoever you have mentioned in your Will. However, if you have items of particular sentimental or monetary value which you want to go to someone specific, one of OFRM’s Wills lawyers will be able to assist in ensuring your Will is appropriately drafted to implement your wishes. Call us on 03 5445 1000.